Friday, July 29, 2011

Lilias Trotter's Parables

Two little books, now out of print, wonderfully expand on the imagery Jesus used.  Parables of the Cross and Parables of the Christ-Life.

The Sign of the Cross
     Can we not trace the sign of the Cross in the first hint of the new spring's dawning?  In many cases, as in the chestnut, before a single leaf has faded, next year's buds may be seen at the summit of branch and twig, formed into its very stem blood-red.
     Back in the plant's first stages, the crimson touch is to be found in seed-leaves and fresh shoots, and even in hidden sprouts.  Look at the acorn, for instance, as it breaks its shell, and see how the baby tree bears its birthmark. 

A Clean Severance
     Botanists say that across the leaf-stalk there forms in autumn a layer of thin-walled cells, termed "the layer of separation."  These press and tear the older cells apart, and become disintegrated in their turn, till without an effort the leaf detaches with a severance clean and sharp as though made by a knife.  The plant sentences the leaf to death, and the winds of God carry out the sentence.

The New Leaf
     From the first hour that the layer of separation begins to form in the leafstalk, the leaf's fate is sealed; there is never a moment's reversal of the decision.  Each day that follows is a steady carrying out of the plant's purpose:  "This old leaf shall die, and the new leaf shall live."

Spiritual Pruning
     It is when the death of winter has done its work that the sun can draw out in each plant its own individuality, and make its existence full and fragrant.  Spiritual growth means something more than the sweeping away of the old leaves of sin -- it means the life of the Lord Jesus developed in us.

Life Out of Death
Note this bit of gorse bush.  The whole year round the thorn has been hardening and sharpening.

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