Yesterday 18 of us from First Presbyterian Church went on a field trip. [Of course we went to eat at a wonderful restaurant and laughed a lot through out the day and at least one of us got lost some time during the outing – but that is not the focus of this writing.
We took a trip to Edinboro PA to see and learn about how maple syrup is made. We went to a museum to learn about God’s work behind the scenes of a Maple Tree.
When we arrived at the museum we were met by the ‘Joyce Meyers’ of Maple syrup, – the woman could preach Maple Syrup! She guided us and taught us about the process by which this amazing sweet liquid was taken from the trees and developed into something extraordinary.
Did you know that there is a system to how you tap a tree? Did you know that sap in a maple tree runs UP the tree? Did you know that certain conditions (very specific conditions) MUST all be in place for this to happen? And did you know that this happens ONLY in our Great Lakes area of the World?
So the conditions (mud and snow) and the location, the type of tree (maple) and the time of year (as the trees are beginning to produce buds) all have to be in place for this miraculous process to be possible. Did you know that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make ONE gallon of Maple Syrup?
None of that is evident buy driving past a Maple tree in February or March.
God is constantly at work in each North American maple tree, using the temperature, the barometric pressure, the length of days and nights to make it possible for humans to produce and have Maple Syrup. From the outside, we cannot see any of this process going on. You have to ‘tap’ the tree to receive this gift. We have to learn from others, we have to notice what is going on around us and in nature, and we have to investigate and try out new things to discover the depth and majesty of God’s world.
Maple syrup is just one small part of the ways God used the North American Maple. We did not even think about the other useful parts of this tree: wood for building houses or producing heat, homes for birds, food for wildlife, shade in the summer, roots that prevent soil erosion … and there is a multitude of other gifts this tree offers.
A few of the lessons learned from connecting what we saw on this field trip to our lives:
- God is at work in our lives in unseen ways.
- We are created for many reasons. We have many useful gifts to offer throughout our lifetime. There are different ‘seasons’ in which different gifts are produced and used.
- Some gifts us have are obvious and ‘outside’ gifts and others are hidden and quiet.
- Sometimes we have to ‘tap’ our gifts to use them and that may take learning new things and developing new areas in our lives… it involves a lot of work and it takes time.
- The end result is good…. It is nurturing and it is life giving.
Yesterday we went on a field trip and we learned about Maple Syrup …. But really, yesterday we went on a trip and we learned about community, we learned about gifts, and we learned about God!
May God bless each one of you as you have eyes to see God’s hand in this world. May you have the eyes to see God’s active care and direction on your life on a daily basis.
May this church community have eyes to see and ears to hear God’s creative and sometimes hidden call to be ‘the voice’ or ‘the action’ of grace in the community. And as you live this out, may you know that your strength comes from the Almighty God of CREATION!