Great Tree

March 8, 2017 (Nairobi):

Last week when I was trying to explain my metamorphosis to [someone], I had a vision, a parable of my life. It went something like this:

Christianity is like a great religious tree that grew up from the seed of Jesus’s life and teachings in the soil of Judaism in the ecosystem of Roman and Greek and Egyptian philosophies and cultures. From that soil and that seed, the great tree grew strong with many branches providing shade and producing much fruit. For two thousand years the tree has continued to grow, drawing nutrients from an ever yet slowly changing ground, absorbing water and sunlight from its environment. It has withstood attacks from within and without in the form of disease, parasites, competition with other large trees, the onslaught of woodcutters, loggers, etc. Yet it has endured.

But now the ecosystem is changing rapidly. The soil from which the tree grew is nearly depleted of the nutrients it needs. The minerals in the water have changed, and the sun is hotter than ever. And there are new threats: newly evolved diseases and parasites and a new generation of cutters. As a result, the tree is dying. Leaves are turning brown on some branches, while others still remain green. Other whole branches have died and are falling off. The once mighty tree now has the light and life slowly fading from it.

Nature knew that for this tree to pass its genes on to the future, it had to mutate, evolve. The seeds it has been dropping are either not germinating in the increasingly hostile soil or when they do germinate, the saplings wither.

On this Great Tree I was a bud, on the branch of the Mennonite descendants of the Anabaptist radical reformers. As I took form, a genetic mutation occurred within me. When I became ripe, the sap I was enlivened by ceased to flow, and I was cut off from the tree. I died and fell to the ground. There I’ve lain dormant for many years, waiting for the right conditions for my resurrection. Recently I’ve been exposed to just enough moisture I can feel my shell softening and the stirring of new life within me. I look forward to sprouting and growing tall one day. I have the DNA of the Great Tree in my sap but with some mutated genetic material. I will resemble the Great Tree in many ways but also be quite different. I am a new species of human.

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