Trees. A poem by Joyce Kilmer.

I don’t see the poem as just about trees, it’s about us. From early childhood, a tree whose hungry mouth is prest, through the struggles of life. We look to God in prayer and supplication (looking at God all day), whether in the summer of our life (with a nest of robins in our hair), the dreariness of rain (intimately living with rain) or as we grow old (snow upon our bosom). We are God’s creation; woven together in an eternal song, dependant upon the Earth, the air around us and God.

Truth and Simplicity

Some of the criticisms directed at Mr. Kilmer were that much of his poetry was too simple and overly sentimental. But often that is exactly what we need instead of spending the day wondering what a phrase means. Or as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:12 (NIV) “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity[a] and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace”.

Religion and the free exercise thereof

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution begins with the line, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. A concept which has been under attack since the nineteen eighties but has come under intensified assault since the election of Donald Trump.

Establishment of Religion

Books have been written on what the founders meant but the religious freedom clause is easier to understand broken into two sections. The first part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is there to prohibit a state religion. The founders were very aware of the Church of England’s influence over Great Britain.

Bishops and ministers in the Church of England swore an oath to remain faithful to the King. at the time of the revolution there wasn’t a bishop in the Colonies but the Anglican Church was attempting to establish one. For many this was not just an issue of religion but one of individual liberty. Many who had fled religious persecution were afraid it had followed them to the new land.

Works and Faith go together like

Works and faith, you can’t have one without the other. Not quite as catchy as ‘Love and Marriage’ but the concept is the same and perhaps more fundamentally true. Marriage is the public visible expression of love while works are the public visible expression of faith.

Faith made manifest in Works

The  second chapter of James is an excellent study in works and faith. My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? James 2:1 (NLT).  I could write an entire article on favoring one group of people over another (and I have) but that is not the point being made here. The concept is that faith driven works are as much attitude as action.

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Photo By Tatoli ba Kultura

Racism, sexism, homophobia; these are some of the most obvious examples of favoring one group over another. The truth is we tend to put people into groups and align ourselves within one or more of those groups. It is not a new concept. Many years ago people banded together into tribes, tribes grew into countries. Most countries however have divided themselves into a multitude of groups. Very often those groups divide themselves even further. Sometimes with disastrous results.