REFORMATION: Led by the Spirit

A Spiritual History

 “The Parable of the Leaf in the Stream”

It’s been a pretty nice life so far. I hang from this tree, surrounded by others like me, and around us are other trees with other leaves. I get to enjoy the sunshine and the cool breezes. Below me is pool of clear, blue water. I’ve been up here for a long time. And it hasn’t always been easy. There have been some storms so fierce that it took all of my strength just to hang on to the branch that is my home. Some of my friends and family haven’t been strong enough to hang on. They’ve been ripped from the branches by the force of a wind that we can’t see – a wind that has carried them to places unknown. Other friends and family still seem able to hang on with little effort. But as for me, I’m tired. And the water below looks so cool and refreshing. So I’m letting go…..

My journey from the tree to the water is surprisingly easy. I simply let go and float, ever so gently, to the surface of the water. I almost expect the water to be shockingly cold, my landing on it’s surface almost painful. But it’s pleasantly cool and I land so gently that it’s almost as if some invisible hand has carefully placed me there. I lay there for a while, just resting, until I realize that the water isn’t still. It’s moving, and carrying me along on its surface.

For a long time, I just float along. I note changes in the scenery. I come to realize that there are more trees, and more leaves, than I could ever have hoped to see from that branch that I called home. Not only that but, I’m no longer in the pool of water. I can see land and trees on both sides of me now, and the water is moving more quickly. I’m starting to feel afraid. No longer is it a gentle ride. The water seems almost angry. I long to be back in the pool, or even better, on my branch.

But wait. I’m not moving anymore. The water has washed me up against a rock. I’m safe. The hard, smooth surface of the rock is warm from the sun. The turmoil of the water no longer pulls at me, taking me to places and things unknown. The rock is safe. I quickly decide that this is a good place to stay. From my vantage point on the rock, I can see others like myself being pulled along by the flow of the water. There aren’t many of them but, they are there. Strangely, they don’t seem troubled by the quickness of the water. They simply float along, going wherever the water takes them. My rock that seemed so safe a little while ago, suddenly feels lonely. The others in the water call to me, wanting me to join them. Their voices, and some yearning that I can’t identify, cause me to leave my rock. I’m still frightened by the movement of the water and the idea of not knowing where it will take me. But, somehow, I know I have to follow it. So I release my hold on the rock and let the water move me once again.

The first thing I realize is that it’s not moving as fast as I thought it was before. It’s quicker than in the pool but, not as quick as when I found myself against the rock. Just as my fear starts to subside, I realize that I’m barely moving at all. I can still feel the coolness of the water but, there’s something else too. Something rough. I’ve been washed against a sandy spot on the shore. I can’t float along the surface any longer. The sand is clinging to me, keeping me in place. I lay there not knowing what to do. The others in the water continue to call to me, just like when I was against the rock. And there’s more of them now. I even recognize some of them. But I can’t move. The sand won’t let me go.

I begin to feel depressed. Is this how my life is to end? Am I to be forced to lay on this rough sand, feeling the refreshing water lap at my edges but, never able to get back into the stream? I don’t want it to be this way. Just as I’m ready to give up, to accept this as my fate, a gentle rain begins to fall. The water in the stream rises. It lifts me from the sand, washes a few stubborn grains from me, and carries me back into the center of the flow. So, my journey has not yet reached it’s end. Far from it.

Over time, I find myself against other rocks, caught up in other stretches of sand, even snagged by some fallen logs. Each time I fear that my journey has come to an end. Each time longing to return to the water. Somehow, I know that I belong in that stream. I have to follow that stream to it’s end. And each time it seems that fate returns me to that stream. The rain causes the water in the stream to rise and lift me back into the flow, or a wind picks me up and places me back in the center of the stream. Sometimes the water moves so fast, and is churned up by the rocks it must pass to the point where I fear that I will be washed under, unable to resurface. But then perhaps the stream widens a bit, the water slows, and I’m able to again easily float on it’s surface.

There are many of us in the stream now. We’re different sizes, different colors, different ages. Yet we all seem to have a need to follow the stream – where ever it’s taking us.  Wait. What’s this? The water is no longer a clear blue. It’s actually got a tinge of pink to it. None of us can tell what’s causing this change. Is it dangerous? The color is getting darker now. It’s turned a bright red. The realization dawns on me that it’s no longer water that carries me along. It’s blood. Why this change? Where am I being taken? I’m afraid but, at the same time, I feel a sense of peace. There are many of us now. Hundreds of thousands, even millions, of leaves – all shapes, colors, and ages being carried along on this stream of blood. It’s getting hard to move. There are so many of us. We’re pushed against each other, even on top of one another.

Suddenly I realize that I’m not moving anymore. But where am I? I look around. Behind me I can see the stream of blood that started out as an inviting pool of refreshing water. I can see the blue sky above me dotted with soft white clouds. I can even see a rainbow. But why

can’t we move anymore? After a little shoving and poking my way through those around me, I see a piece of wood. It’s not just another log that has fallen in the stream that we have to find a way around. This piece of wood stands straight up. As I look up it’s length I begin to understand. The whole journey makes sense now.

That pool that drew me from everything I had ever known was the Holy Spirit. The rocks I came up against were events in my life that tried to keep me from following the will of the Spirit. The sand represented the things in my life that I let weigh me down. The water that turned into blood, well that was the blood shed by Christ when he died for me – for us all. And the piece of wood we had finally come to rest against, that was the cross on which He died. Yes, I was right where I belonged. I was among friends and family, moved by the Holy Spirit, washed by the blood of Christ, kneeling at the foot of the cross where the Son of God died for us – and there I would stay, forever worshipping the one who loves us all. This was my true home!!!



Written by Candy Goglin

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