Spanish Oak

In the grounds of Rufford Old Hall in West Lancashire grows a Spanish Oak, among the old English specimens. I will confess to not knowing the Spaniard has his own oak, and wondered if it provided the wood for his mighty armada of 1588, which would have extinguished gospel light in this nation had God suffered it to land. I looked it up upon my return home, and found that it is in fact native to the Americas, with US cousins calling it the Southern Red Oak. Because it grew in lands occupied by the Spanish, we Englishmen associated it with them. Yet this tree is a son of the New World, not the old.

In this twenty-first-century, we are surrounded by features and characteristics of this fallen, old world of which we are part: greed, selfishness, idolatry, atheism, indifference, sin. Yet tokens of the new creation continue to break through the gloom and remind us of the uncharted delights of the future promised by Christ to His redeemed people: love, hope, faith, joy, and all the scriptural promises. May we be to those around us heralds of New Jerusalem, and not mere ambassadors of this fallen world; oaks of the sunny uplands, rather than the gnarled and stunted trees of Mirkwood.

“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12, NKJV