Have lumber that is made into boards that

Have you ever looked, no really looked, at the wooden
floor in the sanctuary? Have you ever thought about the trees and what they
went through to make it to this point? 
The trials and tribulations each tree endured, the terrain and weather
giving and taking blessings and abuse. Tornadoes, floods, and droughts help
shape each of those growth lines in the wood, creating the grain. In good
seasons, the rings are larger while in poor conditions, the grain grows
tight.  Mineral contents in the soil
contribute to the coloration and strength of the wood.  When storms cause twisting and breakage, wood
knots can form which give added strength to a once weakened point.  But it must first suffer damage and endure
not only the storm but the time in which it must heal. I find the most beautiful
wood to be the wood that is found decades after it has been cut and sank under
the dark waters. Buried in the mud and sitting, just waiting for the light to
find it. When this kind of wood makes it to the surface the coloration is
simply spectacular. It is not only marvelous to look at but it shares in a
story of what most see as junk to being lifted to the status as treasure.       

I admire trees. 
They pull nutrients from the ground and water from their leaves and
roots.  But trees can do even greater
things, like taking Carbon Dioxide gas, which is poisonous. Trees turn this
poison into precious Oxygen, which blesses all life on Earth.  Through all this, they reach upwards to the
Sun for energy to live.  Some trees grow
tall and straight, producing good lumber that is made into boards that stretch
out across this room.  Others may not be
as tall but can still have strength if given the right nutrients.

So back to the wooden floor.  When the mills cut the lumber, they scan the
log overseeing how they may cut it to get the most from it.  Some boards may have knots; some boards may
have rings from branches that grew from that spot. Nevertheless, each board is
unique and special. The trees have a story, a history. It is when each board is
placed together that we find this beautiful wooden floor that holds us up
today.

Look around the room. 
See each face.  Know that they all
came from different places, different backgrounds.  They have been given different nutrients, minerals,
and sunlight.  Some have endured great
suffering lost in the depths to be found. While others suffered little and have
never found the bottom of darkness. Some have knots which scar them through the
loss of life’s trials.  Others have rings
where loved ones grew from them and now they are left separated from that
branch. We come together, reaching to the Son (Jesus) for growth, basking in
God’s glory.  We are moved gently by the
Holy Spirit.  We are led by peace to
continue to grow as people of God’s love, being fed by the minerals of truth that
is only found in Scripture (the Bible). 
For when we are of one accord, as the floor is right now, we endure the
heavy load.

Romans 5: 1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through
faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by
faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of
the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in
our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character,
hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy
Spirit, who has been given to us