This took place at the Living Waters Retreat center in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. I went there for a couple of quiet days to be with God and ask Him for a vision of our church.
As I looked out of my window, I saw four tall elm trees. Everything was quiet and still. It was a prayerful moment of peace and tranquility, and yet I felt there was something mysterious in the air.
As I looked at the trees, I marveled at how the slender trunks had taken years to branch out into smaller limbs, twigs, and leaves. I thought about Christ’s Church being the largest tree and all the denominations becoming strong branches on the new limbs.
Where was Erin on this great tree? In 2000 years of Christianity and throughout the numerous denominations, and even amongst billions of Christians, what part did we represent of the great tree?
As I contemplated our size and history, I realized that we were just a mere leaf toward the top of the tree. Amongst myriads of leaves, we were just like any other – a tiny leaf, on a small twig, connected to a big branch, attached to a large limb, growing out of a giant trunk. We were the smallest of the small – insignificant, unimportant, and ineffectual.
In the stillness of the moment, I felt stung in realizing that we had only made such a tiny contribution to the Great tree of Faith. It was humiliating and hurtful, shocking and surprising. I came to the retreat center looking for an almighty vision, and all that I was given was a divine reality check.
And then God showed me something totally unexpected. Everything was quiet and somber. As I looked at the little leaf that I had chosen as Erin, it slowly began to flutter. Nothing else was happening to the whole tree. Somehow that little, unimportant and insignificant leaf was catching the wind. It seemed as though it was dancing.
Soon other little leaves around it began to flutter and dance. They were also catching the wind and, for a while, they all fluttered alone as a group. And then, all over the tree, other tiny leaves began to catch the wind, and they also fluttered and danced.
The twig that was Erin began to sway ever so slightly, and then it began to swing to the music of the wind. Very soon other twigs were swaying and then the bigger branches joined the dance. The wind was beginning to pick up and the tree was full of its energy. Leaves were fluttering swiftly, twigs and branches were swinging, boughs and limbs were swaying rhythmically in the breeze.
As the dance continued, the sound of the wind picked up and it choreographed the whole tree. I then wondered when the great trunk of the tree would move. I didn’t see it, but I heard it. Throughout this great orchestration of the wind and leaves, I suddenly heard the deep moaning sounds of the trunk creaking in the wind. The whole tree was alive to the movement of the air. I was watching a great symphony that began with the fluttering solo of a little leaf called Erin.
That’s when God struck me with the vision. Erin is just a little church, the tiniest of leaves on this great tree of the Christian faith. Our role is not to be great or grandiose, important or significant. Our purpose is simply to await the coming of the Holy Spirit, to catch its wind, to flutter and dance as the Spirit moves us, so that other little leaves around us may be encouraged and influenced to do the same.
We are here at Erin to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit. The earth may never know who we are or that we exist, but God knows and our role is to delightfully dance before Him. If we wait upon the Lord and catch the Spirit, then we will have fulfilled our purpose. When the Spirit comes, those little leaves that are ready will dance joyfully and flutter faithfully, pleasing God and delightfully serving Christ.
Erin, God is preparing us to catch the Wind? Are we ready to begin the dance?
Erin Presbyterian Church is situated in the Bearden area of Knoxville on Lockett Rd, diagonally across from where Papermill Drive meets Kingston Pike. Services are at 11.00AM on Sunday mornings.