“… a witness…”
“For you will be a witness for him to tell everyone what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:15)
We were driving through Davis, West Virginia last Saturday when suddenly Patti said, “Look at that tree in the chimney!”  “What?” I replied as I pulled the car over to snap the pictures I knew I had to have in my collection. It was true, bigger than life, or was it? Something nagged at me as I thought about sharing the picture, “Is this real, or a really good hoax, something like an internet gag waiting for me to fall victim and then feel pretty stupid when my naitivy was revealed.  So… I hesitated to show the photos.


Then it hit me, “The post office is in that building.  Why not call someone in that office and ask them about the tree?”  A very friendly gentleman on the other end of the phone was quick to explain that the tree was no hoax.  He shared his concern that the tree had been growing there for a couple of years and if something was not done about it pretty soon the roots probably would take down the chimney.  His theory was that a bird or the wind probably had deposited the seed that had grown into the chimney-splitting tree perched three stories above the ground.  Pretty amazing if you ask me!  Now I’m really delighted to share the photos, but before speaking to the postal clerk I was ready to keep them to myself.  I needed a witness to their authenticity before I was willing to believe and share.

The Apostle Paul was recruited to be a witness to the miracle of of God’s love that was being revealed in this Jesus.  God is busy at work all around us, but some of the most amazing examples of that love go “unnoticed” because they seem too much of a stretch.  “Can God really love me that much… no… couldn’t be…”  Sometimes it just feels like too much of a stretch… maybe just a long perpetuated hoax… Sometimes we need a witness, someone who can tell us this “too good to be true” forgiving and reconciling God is for real.  Sometimes we need a witness to tell us that what we want to believe but are afraid to believe for fear of further disappointment is, in fact, true.  God really can love us back into wholeness and new life.

Apparently trees can grow out of chimneys.  I have that from a reliable witness.
God can love us back into life from death.  Sometimes we all need a witness to believe and claim that love.  I thank God for the witnesses that have shared their experiences of this amazing love for me, and pray that I, too, can be a witness to that divine love I have seen and heard.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Bonus Photo
This is Blackwater Falls near Davis, West Virginia, our destination as we were passing through the town with the chimney-splitting tree.  The falls are especially beautiful with the tons of water flowing from the recent heavy rains.

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving
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~ by revgenelson on April 13, 2011.

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