Do you remember this little ditty from your childhood?
Rock-a-bye baby in the treetop
When the wind blows the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
And down will come baby cradle and all
Am I the only person in the world who finds this whole thing eerie? I confess that life-stage could have something to do with it… I’m a relatively new pop (our family term for grandpa). The very idea of a bough breaking, bringing one of my two grandkids crashing to the ground cradle and all just creeps me out!
There are other verses – more endearing verses – less tragic verses – but still…
The poem first appeared in print in Mother Goose’s Melody (c. 1765). There are a number of theories regarding the origin of the rhyme. The one that was most often repeated in my research goes like this: It was the 1st poem written in America. It was penned by an unknown English immigrant. She (again, a theory) had observed Native-American women using birch-bark cradles suspended from the branches of trees, allowing soft breezes to sway them. As she contemplated this early example of American multi-tasking she was inspired to pen those words.
That’s nice. It has a historical ring to it. Still, in the end, the cradle and baby crash to the ground!
Chalk it up as evidence of the wind
The Weather Channel has, in recent weeks, become a sort of must-see-tv. The wind has been busy in the USA:
- Multiple storms, spawning a number of tornados, swept across the piedmont of North Carolina
- Alabama and Mississippi endured a week-end of horror
- Joplin, MO will be rebuilding practically from scratch
- Massachusetts, which never sees tornados, saw the destruction of just a few such storms
I recently flew from Jackson, MS back home to the Mid-Atlantic. Our flight path took us just south and parallel to the path of the Tuscaloosa, AL storm. Even from 26,000 feet you could easily – with the naked eye – make out the path of the storm.
Surfing the web a few days ago I came across satellite imagery of Joplin a few weeks before and one day after. Incredible.
The news has been filled with heart-wrenching stories of tragedy as well as heart-warming stories of resilience and miracles.
All of it, evidence of the wind
Adele/I lived/worked in and near New Orleans, LA when Katrina blew ashore. As the storm backed the lake up against the levees protecting the city, the weak spots gave way and the water gushed in… evidence of the wind
This last week we have endured a record breaking heat wave here along the Mid-Atlantic coast. A few days ago a much needed cool front came thru. It was a dry front, but windy for 48 hours. I was driving by some fields about ready to be cut for hay when I found myself captured by the waves of grain. It literally looked like an ocean of green ebbing and flowing with the tides – waving at me. Beautiful… evidence of the wind
The 1st Nic-at-Nite was not a cable channel. Also known as Nicodemus – he was a religious professional who was a spiritual seeker – initially meeting with Jesus under the safe confidentiality of night. How often? Don’t know. Is John 3 one exchange or a compilation? Don’t know.
Parts of it I know you remember. Thanks to the weird-haired guy attending televised sporting events (and not a few pastors!), some of the most famous words Jesus ever spoke were said to Nic, ‘You know… God doesn’t just love you or folks like you? He loves everyone – the whole, wide world. In fact, He loves the world so very much that He sent His own Son into that world so that the residents of this dimension might have hope – a chance to believe and, therefore, find and know life. Contrary to the opinion of many, God didn’t send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so the world could be saved!’ [A paraphrased narrative of John 3:16-17… Randy’s Revised Version]
In that same section of Scripture – and maybe that singular conversation – Jesus said this:
“You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.” (John 3:8, The Message)
I am captured by the imagery of the wind there. Very matter-of-factly, commonly, Jesus used this illustration. You can see the evidence of the wind. Jesus did. Nic could. Anyone watching TV or monitoring online news outlets the last month has.
It’s a simple truth with a convicting challenge.
I’ve found myself contemplating that short passage in light of the vivid, visual reminders of these weeks. It all has me walking thru these days with a question: Can someone, looking at my life, see evidence of The Wind? Heart-warming, spirit-churning, powerful, awe-inspiring, convincing evidence of The Wind? Anyone?
I hope so.
I pray so… not just for me, but for my Church and for The Church. I pray so, for you too. Amen.