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Almond Tree

April 3, 2013

“Blossoming Almond Tree” by Vincent van Gogh (PD-ArtlPD-old-100)

“I said to the almond tree, ‘Sister speak to me of God.’  And the almond tree blossomed.”

— Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

The almond tree, a relative of the peach, is native to the Levant, but has been cultivated as far north as Iceland. It was among the first trees domesticated, thought to have sprouted initially on pre-historic garbage heaps. Domesticated almonds were in use by the Bronze Age (3300-2000 BC).  They were found amid other treasures in the pharaoh, Tutankhamen’s tomb.

Almond blossoms have been said to symbolize hope, perseverance, and justice, among other things. For the Israelites, they signified watchfulness, specifically God’s vigilance on their behalf.  The Hebrew word “almond” and the phrase, “I am ready” (or “I am watching”) sound similar. The almond, also, flowers in early Spring.

It was for these reasons that God instructed the Israelites to make a golden lampstand shaped like an almond tree, for the sanctuary (Ex. 25: 31-40). Three branches were to extend from each side, decorated with flowers in the form of almond blossoms and buds. The Jewish menorah (a candelabra with seven branches) was the result.

The staff Moses’ brother, Aaron, carried was made of almond wood, as well. The same staff bloomed and brought forth almonds over night, in validation of Aaron’s claim to the priesthood (Num. 17).

The Book of Revelation describes Christ as surrounded by seven golden lampstands, thus, portraying His central relationship to the seven churches (Rev. 1: 12-13, 20). He is, in effect, the stem of a greater lampstand (a reference, also, to the vine and branches symbolism at John 15: 1-7).

Christians, too, are urged to remain watchful (1 Thess. 5: 6). We are to be spiritually aware of God, the needs of the kingdom, and God’s purpose for our lives.

“…[T]he word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see the branch of an almond tree.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word’ ” (Jer. 1: 11).

Lord God, You made this astounding world, and watch over it with the care of a loving gardener.  The peach and the almond flower as they should. Yet we, Your children, destroy the garden.  Without thought, as if it were ours.

Daily there is violence. Daily immorality increases. None can argue, but that pruning is warranted.

Exercise mercy, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus. Stay Your hand of judgment, and remind us instead of another tree, the one on which He died for us. We ask this in His holy name.


READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  http://www.avoicereclaimed

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