Today this quote came through my email: “The oak indwells the acorn.” and referred to a book titled “Read Your Life Backwards” by Max Lucado. I haven’t read the book yet, but I have been reading my life this way ever since I read a book titled ‘Meeting Jesus Again For The First Time’ by Marcus J. Borg. Reflecting on my life this way has given me a more profound understanding and respect for the faith of my mother and father.  And the words “The oak indwells the acorn.’ remind me  of times I used to sit under the old oak tree with my grandfather and later in a different place with my children.

The oak indwells the acorn reminds me of the words: The Tree of Life which reminds me of a Family Tree. The oak indwells the acorn.

When you read your own life backwards you cannot avoid reading into the lives of those people who came into the family tree before you. The Tree of Life exists for the church as well as individuals. The congregation you have become a member of or are considering becoming a member of has a family tree. Even if you are ‘planting’ a new church, there already exists a Tree of Life, a church that has been dwelling within an acorn.

Just like Oak Trees, churches grow in both forest and field, in the country and in towns and cities. Sometimes when an acorn falls from the tree it remains where it fell and grows very near to the ‘parent’ tree. Some acorns are harvested by squirrels that pick them up and carry them off to hide them in the ground somewhere else. The squirrels might forget about that acorn or they hid so many they didn’t need that one and so it lays still. While forgotten by the squirrel it is still fed and nourished by the earth around it and the rains that fall from the heavens and heat that radiates through the ground from the sun and is cooled when the sun sets and moon lights up the night sky. That acorn is growing and soon become a small planting that grows and becomes a mighty oak surprising everyone when suddenly its leaves appear, first blending in with the green and brown and then bursting forth in color.

Perhaps you have members like this in the midst of your congregation. Perhaps you’ve been nurturing a mighty oak all along and were never noticed because you were busy looking at your own leaves or the trunks of other mature oaks that surround you.

Some acorns are harvested by people who are in the landscaping business. These businesses are aware of the wide variety of oaks, where they come from and where they are best suited to grow according to the climate and conditions. They harvest sort them, name and identify the acorns. Then meticulously plant and purposefully nurture them so they are healthy and strong. Then the trunks are tethered so they stand straight, not leaning too far in any one direction so their branches will not weigh them down causing a split or fracture. These oaks are then sold to organizations that are looking to improve the landscape their property. They are now nurtured and appreciated by a family, community or organization. They provide shelter of many kinds, for people and for animals. They grow and soon they produce acorns and more oaks indwell them.

Perhaps seminaries are a little bit like tree farms full of acorns wherein the oaks dwell. Perhaps the church with all it’s various denominations is a little bit like a forest full of many varieties of oaks, none better than the other just different. Standing side by side, blocks or miles apart, they make our communities and our country more beautiful than if we only had one kind of oak or one kind of tree. Yes, the oak indwells the acorn, but from which oak has the acorn come from?

Looking at the following verses from Genesis, Luke and Revelation, it seems to me that God is the Oak and Jesus is the first Acorn . . .
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. Genesis 1:28-30 (NIV)
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45 (NIV)
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. Revelation 22: 1-3 (NIV)
Yes, it does seem to me that God is the Oak and Jesus the first Acorn. . . This is the family tree I’m a member of . . . The family of God. The Apostle Paul said that through Jesus, everyone has been given the right to become children of God; people can be grafted into the family through him.
And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. Romans 11:23
And yes, there are many stories about branches (individuals, families and churches) being grafted into the Family of God through Jesus Christ, who founded the church by grafting into his heart a man who had denied him knowing him before other people.
We cannot judge ourselves, each other or our churches. We can only proclaim the gospel message of Jesus Christ, through whom we have all been redeemed and called to be in a loving relationship with God and one another in the power of the Holy Spirit.
© June G. Paul, November 5, 2009
All Rights Reserved