The Ancient Cypress Woods – Alive or ‘Alive and Dead’


When visiting the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, on November 7, 2011, one of the most idyllic moments of our visit, was  the stroll that we, as a family took, through The Ancient Cypress Woods. Calm, peaceful, and serene, are only few of the words that could describe this experience. As we walked through these woods, we came across a path that was lined on both sides with trees. My beloved wife, Sangeetha, quickly observed and pointed out, that on one side  of the path were evergreen trees (that were lush and alive) while the other side of the path were deciduous trees (that were pale, looking dead, but were alive).

Of course that evergreen trees were more appealing to the eye as God’s creation, and expressed the glory of the Creator more than the deciduous ones. This brought to my mind, a few verses. The evergreen trees sparked in my mind the verse that our five year old son, Reuben often quotes before going to sleep, from Psalm 1 in the Bible. Blessed is the man that is godly for he can be likened to the evergreen trees. In other words, the one who is rooted in Jesus Christ is like a tree that is planted by rivers of water, that yields its fruit in season, and whatever he (she) does prospers (Psalm 1:3). But what if the situations of our life makes us sometimes feel like, we cannot see any rivers/streams of water, but only a desert. This is where I was reminded, to be strong and not fear, and trust in the invisible hand of God that makes waters break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert (Isaiah 35:6). The deciduous trees brought to my mind the counsel that is given to the Church of Sardis, wherein God says, I know that you have a name that thou livest (are alive), and art dead (Revelation 3:1). Note God does not say, you think you are alive, BUT you are dead, He admonishes by saying, you think you are alive, AND you are dead. This is a dead AND alive state, like a deciduous tree that sheds its leaves to go into dormancy, becoming fruitless, though it is alive, it is dead.

Points to ponder:
I found myself wondering as to what kind of tree, I am.
What kind of tree are you? Alive, or ‘Alive and Dead’? Think about it!

Psalm 1: 1-6 (KJV)
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Isaiah 35:4-6 (KJV)
4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Revelation 3:1 (KJV)
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

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