Browsing Tag

Garden of Eden

Meditation

The Black Oxford

black oxford appleThis isn’t about a shoe or the woven dress shirt fabric or even about an African American presence at Oxford University. It’s about an apple. Not your ordinary grocery store apple but a classic. The Black Oxford is a purple-skinned, white-freckled heirloom apple, as vintage as one can get. At first glance it looks like a plum. It’s roots go back 225 years. It was born in 1790 in Paris, Maine during a time when backyard orchards were commonplace.

What makes this particular apple special is its longevity. Nowadays you buy a fresh apple and it’ll last you 2-4 weeks in a pantry before turning to mush. Not the Black Oxford. It can keep for more than six months in a cool dark place at the right temperature with enough humidity. I certainly didn’t know an apple variety could be preserved naturally for that long.

Many of the New England orchards with these old apple trees need to be hunted down. You may want to talk to an old farmer who may be able to point you in the right direction. Once you find one you’ll want to remove a strip of live bark from those 100 or so year old trees and graft it into a healthy tree to resurrect that treasure of a fruit.

The story of the Black Oxford reminds me of another story involving a vintage fruit from a forgotten land. I see flashbacks of an abandoned garden filled with trees but no one is left to till it or eat from it. Distant echoes brush past me leaving me unsettled, cold, and naked. “Where are you?” reverberates in my soul. The past pulls me back for a few seconds and then returns me to the present with urgency. As if it’s counting on me to change something.

This time around it can be different. It has to be. We have to refuse to bite into just any apple. We should be done with modern, short-lived ideologies that try desperately to trump truth. We should be done with lies.

It’s time to search for the tree that produces precious, unadulterated fruit. Organic, deeply-rooted, mature and healthy. That tree of life. The one guarded by the cherubim. That very one that would allow us to live forever.

We bite into the fruit of that tree to be made whole because we’re an untended orchard of dwarf-sized, bitter, angry, lonely, sick trees. And our fruit is dormant. We need that ancient nourishing sap to be the blood running through our viens.

That rare fruit hung on a tree long ago for us. He beckons us to partake of Him. And this time, we’ll graft Him into our hearts. Because we’re the dying trees that need revival.

Meditation

The Old Paths, The Good Way

Going-To-Pay-For-Your-DreamMeditation Verse: Thus says the LORD, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it. (Jeremiah 6:16)

Finding our way back home isn’t always easy. We’ve wandered rather far. Actually, it’s in our nature to wander. We’ve been sidetracked. Our pride, shame, fear, guilt, anger, unbelief yanked us by the neck and veered us to the right and to the left. We’ve swerved down a lengthy, winding road, took a wild, treacherous one and even crossed some abysmal waters. We’ve even traveled down newfangled paths others have freshly carved, leading us to where we are today.

But where are we exactly? Some of us have been wandering around in circles for years and haven’t moved an inch. We’re clearly not where we’re supposed to be. Drained and dehydrated from the journey, we keep walking or running and not moving forward.

If we replay our thoughts we’d see how they guided every step we’ve taken, every stride made. Many of our decisions felt right, in their season. Some were complete dead ends. The blazing Do Not Enter sign warning us must’ve blinded us. Some were clearly marked Private Property, yet we trespassed anyway.

Whatever the case may be, here we are. But is here where we are to be? And where is here? Are you satisfied with where you are?

Most of us are just plain weary and burdened from trekking through life without some measure of purpose. We hear that promise from long ago, faintly. That there’s a future out there, a plan, a hope. We believe we can do it. We can get there. Wherever there is. Where are we going, anyway?

Are you interested in unearthing those old paths, the good way to get to where you’re supposed to be? If so, you’ll need a light for your path and a lamp for your feet. What path? The one that leads to that garden where you can hear the heartbeat of God. Where you smell His fragrance and breathe in His very love. You know. The one from once upon a time, in the land of Eden. The one where something unforeseen slithered into our lives. The one we left behind.

We may not be able to retrace our steps, but there’s a voice calling out to us that will lead us there, saying, Where are you?