Monday, August 09, 2021

The East Sussex Maze


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

‘Did you hear about’ the Christian farmer in East Sussex who spent years planting and pruning thousands of willow trees to create a Bible verse that can be read on from the sky? Peter Gunner, who is 63, has been at it from the 1990s on his farm near Whitesmith, East Sussex, where he lives with his wife, with the appropriate name Faith.  He chose John chapter 14 verse 6 to patiently cultivate. The willow trees spell out words spoken in answer to Thomas’s question, ‘How can we know the way’, Jesus replies, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. As well as a message, his carefully spaced trees form a maze. Peter and faith had help from friends to plant the ‘many thousands’ of willow trees.


The maze has been used by friends and members of their local church and although Peter and Faith knew that their maze was well set out, it was only after a number of years they were shown a picture of it taken from above from a helicopter. Peter said that every time he sees a plane going over, he offers up a little prayer that people will see the verse!


So, close up it’s a maze with people trying hard to find their way through, but from above it’s an easily read message. Sometimes people find Bible truth like that, but if they move their standpoint, all becomes clear. For instance, take the person of Jesus Christ. From an earthly point of view, many people try to understand Him and what He said, and in doing so they have difficulties and have to discount so much of what the Bible states that He did and said – it’s a maze. They, having pared away what they don’t want, they have cut their own way through the maze to produce a teacher Who, for instance, taught the golden rule – ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, etc. 


Of course, from the other viewpoint – like looking down from the aeroplane to see the trees - all becomes clear – Jesus’s message is that He is the way, the truth and the life. So how do we change views from earth to sky, or heaven? The most obvious thing is to ask, who is Jesus Christ and where did He come from and why did He come. If He was only a man, then these questions have no meaning that couldn’t be derived from His genealogy. However, He claimed to be the Son of God, who came into this world at His Father’s instruction. He came to show us what God is like and He came to bring us back to God. In this respect, everything pointed forward to His death. He said that He had come to give His life a ransom for many. So, for those who have come into the good of this, they now have freedom, paid for by His life. 


Jesus said that, with regard to things in the spiritual realm, He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one could come to the Father, God, by any other means than through Him. Now, these are strong words, but as Jesus once said to His enemies ‘I am a man who told you the truth’.  


Is Jesus teaching a maze to you or a message? Try looking from the other viewpoint, move up and take an overall view. To be practical, can I suggest that you read the first chapter of John’s Gospel, to begin with – this is the view from the sky that puts the life and teaching of Jesus into context. It says that He is divine, being the agent of creation, so nothing was made without Him. It then says that He is the One who communicates God to us, He’s the Word who tells God out and then it tells us that the Word became flesh. 

Used by permission of Howard Barnes 


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