Life From Trees (Lent) - Friday, March 23

lent 2018 devotions lutheran indian ministries

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.'"  
Galatians 3:13 (ESV)

Fevers, rheumatism, measles, coughs and colds, eyesores, burns, wounds, insect stings, nosebleeds, nausea, indigestion, heart troubles, and bladder pain. These and other health conditions were treated with the many parts of the sassafras tree by a number of Native American tribes. The tree was also a source of food, drink, soaps, scents and other daily needs.

However, the original stewards of this land never over-used the sassafras or any other natural resource.  They noticed that many animals, birds, and even the swallowtail butterfly depended upon the tree for survival.  They realized this tree provided them and others with healing and life.  

I once made odd tasting sassafras tea from the leaves, but crafting my sassafras prayer walking stick was far more successful.  

What I find the most interesting about this tree is how it produces different types of leaves on the same branch.  This is a rarity in the plant world.  The leaves can be in 3 shapes: Long elliptic (like a cigar), mitten (either right or left handed) and three-fingered (dove shaped). These remind me of the three persons of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Son is Jesus, true God and true man, the One who had “mittens” (hands) like you and me.

There is another tree to which people go for healing and life.  We do not know the species or genus of that tree, although there is a legend it was the dogwood.  We do know that this tree was used as an instrument of death and not life. Yet, because of the One who died on that tree, it does bring healing and life.  Healing from the curse of eternal death due to sin, healing from fear, guilt, and other conditions of the human heart.  When the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, died on this tree, He represented the entire sinful human race.  He redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us as His mittens (hands) were nailed to a tree!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing Jesus to become a curse on the cross, the tree of death, so we can have healing and life.  Empower us to use our right and left mittens (hands) to bring healing and life to those around us by giving them your written Word, hugs, food and drink, clothes and shelter.  May we become the hands of Jesus to help others know that He is their Redeemer. Amen.

Bill Paris, Volunteer
Lawrence, Kansas