The Mount of Olives

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Luke 22:39-46 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. (v. 39) Mountains are frequently mentioned in Scripture. Often they are holy places. Mount Sinai. Mount Hermon. Mount Tabor. Mount Zion. The Sermon on the Mount. The Mount of Transfiguration. And the Mount of Olives. Consisting of three connected summits, the Mount of Olives overlooks Jerusalem from the east. For millennia it has had olive groves. Luke doesn’t …

Time-telling Trees

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Mark 13:28-31 From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. (v. 28) What time is it? I don’t mean time on your watch, what the Greeks called chronos, but time that is out of the ordinary, that is memorable and significant, what the Greeks named kairos. December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, is one such kairos moment. So is July 21, 1969, …

Trees and their Fruits

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Matthew 7:15-20 You will recognize them by their fruits. (v. 16) Shortly after I and my family moved into our house in Holland, Michigan, I hired an arborist to help me correctly identify the trees surrounding our new home. There were 40 trees on our little lot in the core city of Holland: Serbian spruce and Norway maple, eastern hemlock and northern catalpa, white pine and red cedar. I dutifully took notes as the tree expert walked and talked. …

Clapping Their Hands

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Isaiah 55 And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (v. 12) What does it mean that the trees shall clap their hands? From science we know that every tree is a water column constantly supplying the air with moisture. We know that each tree species has its own distinct bioelectric field, with daily and annual rhythms. We know that trees communicate with each other by sending electrical signals via a fungal network. Is it that …

All Creatures Praise the Lord

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Psalm 148 Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! (v. 9) This psalm of praise is all-inclusive. Nothing is left out. All creatures praise the Lord. Angels in heaven. Sun and moon and stars. Sea monsters and creatures of the ocean deep. Fire and hail and snow and frost. Mountains and hills. Animals wild and domestic. Lowly snails and high-flying falcons. Kings and queens. The poor and the homeless. Humans male and female. All people, young and …

Singing for Joy

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Psalm 96 Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy. (v. 12) The tall eastern white pine, a favorite home for bald eagles, whistles its familiar tune when the west wind blows through its bundles of long needles, singing praise to the God who made it. The smooth-barked American beech, whose nuts are sought after by grouse, raccoons, and bear, slowly bends in the breeze, bowing in reverence to the God who tends it. The broad-crowned …