Pastoral Ponderings— Tapping into God’s Blessings
Ah, the sweet deliciousness of maple syrup! A lesser-known classic song to a very familiar tune might float through your head– “‘Tis the season to be tapping—(drill), tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap…” Our property has a lot of sugar maples on it, so we’re experimenting with tapping trees and making maple syrup this year! Knowing how much Chere loved the trees and nature, I was looking forward to sharing some of our soon-to-be-ready syrup with her, but I guess I’ll have to share it with Nina instead.
Like many other blessings, the tasty blessings of maple syrup can only develop over time, and even through the testing of fire. Woodsman’s wisdom is that you shouldn’t tap a tree until it is at least 12” in diameter—that’s more than 60 years old! And the sap can only come from damage—a hole is drilled, and the sap that is collected comes directly from the wound. How often is it that those most wounded in life often become the most golden of blessings? Some dear to us may come to mind; a beloved book called “The Wounded Healer,” known by countless pastors, is a classic describing how this often happens.
Some trees are slow to share their sap, but even the faster trees’ sap only comes one slow drip at a time. But the tiny drips do add up—after less than a week, some of our trees this year have already produced a couple gallons. But don’t get excited yet! The sap then needs to be boiled down, and while all maples can produce syrup, the sugar maple is the best, yet it still generally takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. Other maple species require much more—50, 70, 80 or more gallons of sap per gallon of syrup produced.
Sounds like one of Jesus’ parables, doesn’t it? But maples don’t grow where His feet were known to have trod, so we’ll have to use our spiritual imaginations to tap into Jesus’ wisdom here. I imagine that some of what Jesus’ maple syrup wisdom might boil down to would include that blessings often don’t come quickly, easily or painlessly. But as we have often seen, where blessing do come through pain, the wounding itself can also be transformed into sweet blessings that can enrich our lives and others’ lives in so many ways.
Where have you been blessed through the transformation of others’ pain? How might your places of woundedness be tapped as sources of blessings for others? In 2 Corinthians 12, St. Paul quotes Jesus as saying to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” which we may remember with other wording, something like “in our weakness He is made strong.” Who might you identify in your life as a “wounded healer?” And when we entrust our weakness to Jesus to be transformed by His transforming power, for whom might God use you to be a wounded healer as well?
Tapping on the door of God’s grace—Rev. Jim