There was a time when trees ran around; when they had no leaves and did not bear any fruit. Birds also made their nests on the ground. And everyone thought that this was the way things were meant to be.
Summer, autumn, winter, spring; the trees would play outside. They did not care too much about anything or anyone but themselves; as long as they felt happy and did things that made them laugh. There was one tree, though, who was very careful where he stepped, not wanting to accidentally kick a nest or step on a mother-bird’s eggs. In fact, he loved the birds so much that he would spend hours in the field talking with the birds and helping them build their nests where the other trees would not damage them when they played. The other trees teased him and they told him to stop what he was doing and to play their games. They said, “This is the way things were meant to be”.
One day, the sky grew dark. The clouds became thick and grey. A storm was coming! The wind picked up and the trees knew that this was going to be a storm like no other. They became scared and decided to run away. But not our loving tree. He was too worried about what would happen to the birds and their nests. So, instead of heading for a safer place, the tree turned around and rushed to the field, where all the birds were trying to hide.
“What are you doing?” the other trees asked.
“I have to save the birds!”, the tree shouted back.
“Leave them alone! Save yourself! This is the way things are meant to be!”
But the tree didn’t listen to them. He knew beter.
By now the wind was blowing stronger and stronger with every gust.
He stood on a hill where all the birds could see him, stretched out his branches and shouted, “Come, little birds! Come hide in my branches! Come here if you are scared, come here if you are tired!”
The birds started flocking together. The woodpeckers quickly pecked holes in his branches for the birds to hide in. Although it was sore, the tree didn’t mind. He knew it would make them safe.
For hours the storm raged and the tree stood firm. The water flowed and covered his feet with mud, burying them deep in the soil. Eventually the storm subsided. The other trees came back and found the tree still standing and holding all the birds in his branches. He didn’t move.
“Is he dead?” they asked.
A few days passed, and the tree didn’t move or make a sound.
But then, one glorious morning, when the trees came to see what was happening to this brave tree, they found something strange going on. He had these funny green knobs growing on his branches. The birds were still sitting in his branches. More than that, there were little blossoms. And then the tree opened his eyes.
“This is how things are meant to be!” He said. His feet had become roots and drank up all the water and nutrients from the soil that covered them. It gave him life and made him beautiful like no other tree.
It did not take long for the other trees to recognize his beauty and so they decided to become like him. They followed in his footsteps and whenever a tree planted his or her feet in the soil and opened up their branches to welcome little birds, they started growing green leaves and beautiful fruit, just like the tree who stood bravely in that storm.
Now, there is something about this story that reminds me of Easter. When I look at the cross, it looks like arms stretched open. It is as if Jesus is saying to me: “Come, let the children come. If you are thirsty, come. If you are scared, come, I will keep you safe”. It also reminds me that if I should follow in Jesus’ footsteps, Jesus promised that my life would start bearing fruit – showing the signs of His Kingdom.