Tree of Lost Sins

Cumbria’s Church of St Lawrence, Morland, boasts ‘the only Saxon tower in the north of England’. For me, this is interesting enough to warrant a visit; neither the exterior nor interior were disappointing. On my way to the door, however, a hand-painted sign was stuck in the ground next to a shrub with bits of ribbon attached. I have seen this kind of thing before at stone circles, which was presumably an act of worship or devotion performed by folk pleased to call themselves pagans.

I trust Morland Church has rather more Christianity in its symbolism, though I failed to find further explanation on the day, and the noticeboard’s advertised website appears to be no more. The sign read: The Tree of Lost Things. As such things are wont to do, it set me thinking.

When Adam and Eve betook the fruit from Eden’s Tree of Knowledge, they gained a mouthful, but lost their lives. Paradise- lost; fellowship with God, lost; painless bodies, lost; a perfect creation, lost; God’s perfect image, lost. So much incalculable loss and devastation.

Yet Christ, the Second Adam, also betook Himself to a tree, one sawn into planks and crudely fastened into a cross shape with iron nails. By trusting in His finished work and believing the gospel, I re-gain at this tree what Adam lost at his. Yet here, too, we have a tree of lost things. At Calvary, I bring my guilt, and lose it. I bring my shame, and lose it. I bring my condemnation, and lose it. I bring my enmity towards God, and lose it. Come, won’t you, to the Tree of Lost Sins?

J. Berridge, Gadsby's Hymns, Number 169:

Some wise men of opinions boast,
And sleep on doctrines sound;
But, Lord, let not my soul be lost
On such enchanted ground.

[Good doctrines can do me no good,
While floating in the brain;
Unless they yield my heart some food,
They bring no real gain.]

O may my single aim be now
To live on him that died;
And nought on earth desire to know,
But Jesus crucified!

[Disputings only gender strife,
And gall a tender mind;
But godliness, in all its life,
At Jesus’ cross we find.]

Lord, let thy wondrous cross employ
My musings all day long,
Till, in the realms of purest joy,
I make it all my song.