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The Tale Of Three Trees

 

Upon a green Judean hill

A forest stood - majestic!

Open to the wind and rain

By God alone protected.

"What will you be, my little tree?"

The mother tree inquired.

"A cradle for a wee baby,"

And he smiled a quaint tree smile.

"And you, my child, what is your dream?"

The mother tree continued.

"A gallant ship with white sails lit

And a King upon my venue!"

"My quiet leaves, what hope is yours?"

The mother asked her last one.

"To stand all day and point the way

That men may find our God, Mom."

And so, upon the hill they stood,

While sun and storms assailed them

Strong and tall they grew in size -

One day men came to fell them.

With a rustling sigh the first tree fell;

Itís limbs were stripped and numbered;

A manger in a stable-barn

They built with its good lumber.

And God, Who loves the little trees,

Whispered, "Oh, be cheerful -

For patience is rewarded well."

Still the little tree was tearful.

"My dream is lost! My hope is past!"

The little tree lamented.

But one starry night in Bethlehem

A baby was presented.

And oh! The purest loving joy

Engulfed the small tree-manger;

He knew Who he cradled in his arms -

(Though to the world a stranger.)

Men came again and took a tree;

They drug it to the seashore.

A crude, plain fishing boat they made...

It knew Ďtwould never be more.

"Iíve lived in vain! My fondest hope

Is lost now and forever!"

The little tree in sorrow sailed -

Itís dream so cruelly severed.

But God, Who loves the little trees,

And knows their fondest wishes,

Said, "Oh, have faith, your hold wonít be

Forever filled with fishes!"

One day a Special Man came by -

A crowd of people followed.

They pressed Him ever close to hear

His words, precious and hallowed.

He stepped into the tiny boat

And taught the people saying:

"Seek not the riches of this world -

Where is your treasure laying?"

And the second tree knew on itís deck

The Son of God stood teaching!

No greater royalty heíd hold -

No greater truths men reaching!

And out up hillside green,

When Spring again was bursting,

The third tree stood majestically

Saying to all men thirsting:

"I point to God, Who cares for all -

Whoís sending you a Savior!

And this my faithful servitude -

Iíll point to God forever!"

Then came the rough and scornful men

With axes swinging wildly!

Into the third trees heavy bark

The sunk the blades, not mildly!

"Oh! This can never, never be!"

He cried in silent sorrow.

"Father, how shall I point to You

For those who come tomorrow?"

With angry hand the tools employed

And tore away his branches;

Hauled into Jerusalem he lay

Naked, ...silent,...anxious....

And God, Who loved this little tree

Looked down in sorrow, knowing.

He whispered, "Sweet peace," even then -

When both their tears were showing.

Into a cruel, ugly cross

The little tree was fashioned;

And nails were driven through the hands

Of Someone hung with passion.

A jeering mob, a Saviorís blood;

A motherís heart was broken...

The earthquake and the thunderings -

A final word was spoken.

Laid vainly in a borrowed tomb,

Godís Son had made the purchase;

Freely laying down His life -

Fulfilling Heavenís purpose.

A brutal and a blood-stained cross

That lifted high the Savior,

Became a precious emblem that

Each one of us holds dearer.

No other tree is so revered

No other so endearing

No other tree has shown the way

To millions - now God - fearing.

....Upon a green Judean hill,

A forest stands now praising

A God whose loving sacrifice

Shows only grace amazing!

Joan Clifton Costner

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