Just when I was ready to give up on the tree outside my office ever blooming, why, it winked at me and burst into blossom.
For those who are newer to Emmaus, the more mature trees on our campus were planted either in celebration of a birth or in memory of the loss of someone dear to us. The tree I get to look at most days is Marna’s tree, planted in loving memory of Marna Hodgson who died of cancer in 1989. Marna was such a joyous gift to our church–an exuberant worshipper and encouragement to those who cared for her during the season of her illness. As a young pastor, I remember coming away from time spent with Marna realizing I’d been given far more than I gave. So when her tree breaks open (even when I’ve given up on it!), I always call her husband Steve to let him know. For 24 years that tree has been my constant companion, a reminder of God’s faithfulness and promise. It’s like the verse I sometimes share as a benediction on Sunday morning has it, the words of Peter:
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11