“The Witness Tree”

It’s a cold and rainy morning. A colder wind blows through the falling leaves at the park as I try and make my miles. The weather has kept away even the hardiest of runners. I am alone.

It’s All Hallows’ Eve and I am being haunted.

In the mid to late 80s former Band member Robbie Robertson released his first solo record to great acclaim. One of the singles from that record was the atmospheric “Broken Arrow” (later covered by Rod Stewart).

Can you see what I see
Can you cut behind the mystery
I will meet you by the witness tree
Leave the whole world behind

The witness tree has been haunting me these past few days.

In surveying, a ‘witness tree’ is basically a landmark. During the Civil War (and later conflicts with Native Americans) witness trees were the silent sentinels of bloody battles.

I have witness trees in my life.

I can’t help but think of the Cross as the ultimate witness tree. I’m not attempting to bring a spiritual moral to this tale. Certainly what Christ endured on the cross was the final battle against sin and death.

But in every church there are crosses that have witnessed many battles, both good and bad. Witness to breakthrough and blessing. Witness to brokenness and betrayal. Holy Spirit bring comfort to all I pray.

In our daily lives, there are witness trees to our battles and victories. We celebrate the successful campaigns…but often times we want to eradicate the reminders of our losses.

Kill the wounded. Erase the names of the fallen foes. Rewrite the history, tear down the walls, and burn the rest.

I have witness trees in my life. Let them haunt as they will…I will not cut them down.

Father, meet me by the Witness Tree and leave the whole world behind…