Exactly two years ago our daughter Siri and I saw our first Giant Sequoias, in the Nelder Grove of Sierra National Forest. We were astonished at the sublimity of these giants, standing as witnesses to two thousand years of history.
But the Nelder trees are also witnesses of the heedless logging of the 1800’s. The Nelder Grove holds massive stumps of sequoias, logged in rushed efforts to get the most wood for the least effort.
Siri stands beside one of those stumps, seen in the photo here.
North of the Nelder, two other massive Sequoias were cut in the 1850’s. Those two trees were stripped of their bark, which was reassembled with interior scaffolding in San Francisco, New York City and London. These ancient trees were transformed into a traveling side-show and “get rich quick” scheme.
The destruction of those two trees became the tipping point for our nation. Local leaders and newspapers began to protest the exploitation and destruction of these trees for personal ambition. Finally Washington leaders acted, taking steps toward creating the U.S. national park system and the protection of its trees.
Are we now at this same tipping point in our nation? Were those two mass shootings last week our two Giant Sequoias?
This week we’ll continue our summer sermon series on “Trees of the Bible.” Trees have much to teach us about life and God. This week they’ll teach us about time – our very human, rushed and heedless time, and God’s slower, wiser time.