The image of live oak trees is the most indelible image of southern states. With its broad and beautiful shade and the way the Spanish moss hangs from its branches, giving it a look of aged wisdom, the trees are a staple of Baton Rouge.
Known for its dense and strong wood, the live oak tree’s oddly downwards growing branches add to its beauty. At the same time, the downward growing branches can cause potential damage to the tree and the weakening of its massive limbs.
Yet one of the fascinating facets of these trees is their ability to take the potential error of their branches’ downward growth. As the live oak grows closer to the ground, its branches will re root. In effect, the trees error will become an even greater asset as it strengthens the tree’s ability to support itself and collect water.
As we centered our Sunday conversation on the ministry of reconciliation, I wonder if the ornate trees that decorate our property might be a living reminder of how our faults, errors, and conflict within a faith community can, in fact, strengthen us for a new chapter together.
We are an imperfect people. Conflict is inevitable, but it can also be healthy.
Might we consider that the wounds of the past and the inevitable wounds of the future can be transformed through the loving grace of Jesus into something that revitalizes us as a church.
As we drive around Baton Rouge and onto the UBC campus, taking in the serenity of the live oaks, may each of us consider how we might seek reconciliation with one another.