SERMON TITLE: “The Tree of Life”
SERMON TEXT: Revelation 7:1-3, 9-10; 22:1-5 (also read John 20:19-29)
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: April 23, 2017, at First UMC (Earth Day & Native American Sunday)
As you’re probably figuring out, we’re combining a lot of themes today. Every year, right after Easter, United Methodists acknowledge and give financial support for the important work we do with Native American Ministries. Easter and spring seem like a natural time to remember a people who value the earth and creation. Which is why, of course, Earth Day celebrations also happen in April. And, all that is why, today, right after worship, we’re going out in the church yard to plant two trees. The old willow tree by the playground was dying because it was infested with bugs. So we had to have it cut down and removed. Now, we have two brand new Linden trees, which should grow well in this climate and soil and should create nice shade for our playground and picnic table.
The death and resurrection story of Jesus is a unique Christian contribution to the universal human experience and hope of life’s constant renewal. But, in many Native cultures and even in our own Christian scriptures, the Easter story of death and resurrection is described with the earthy imagery of a tree. So, I invite you this morning to consider with me the promise of new birth which is characterized by the tree of life.