I see God’s work every time I leave the church parking lot. The oak tree by the entry way spreads its branches in the shape of the cross, reminding me where I’ve been and where I’m headed. That tree has been there for 125 or 150 years and it has been part of our Living Springs story ever since we arrived on the place. We noticed it right away and Pastor Ed Long, our first pastor and mission developer, would point it out frequently. As we cleared the land the cross became increasingly prominent. We had Bible Study out here before the church was built and worshipped a couple of times a year on the property as well. The oak tree was and continues to be an icon and means a lot to a lot of people.
Once we got the church building up we didn’t have funds for lawn maintenance so I would come out here and mow. It’s a big lawn and some days I’d come out with a pretty bad attitude. I’d look up and see that oak cross and say to myself, “If I’m out here I need to get my heart right about this.” The oak kept me aware of what this place is all about. Some churches have a sign over the door as you leave the sanctuary that says, “You are now entering the mission field.” The oak tree reminds me of that same thing. When I go by that oak each time I leave the church grounds, I get a reminder that God is with me as I go out into the world.
Our neighborhood has grown so much in the last 25 years. We chose a property that would be in a growth area so we could serve our neighbors. But along with a popular location comes people and traffic and a need to widen the road. When the day comes to take down the oak tree to widen the road we will see over 100 years of history and this symbol of God’s faithfulness come down in 30 minutes. I know it will be a sad day for those of us who look to that tree as a reminder of God’s presence. I also know that we didn’t build or buy that oak cross – it’s here by pure grace. God provided us with a powerful symbol of love and faithfulness and no matter what the future holds God will do so again.