The Banyan Tree
My husband and I love all things Hawaiian. Because we are both native Southern Californians we have been able to fly over the Pacific to enjoy a week on the islands a few times. One of our favorite attractions is a banyan tree on Maui right by the Old Lahaina courthouse. It was planted in 1873 (I had to look that up), covers two thirds of an acre and has twelve major trunks in addition to a huge core! Because it shades such an immense area it looks like many trees but yet is only a single tree. You cannot even photograph the entire tree (I did try though).
The last six months of our lives have been very unique. Instead of worshiping in a single congregation we have had the opportunity to worship in many congregations across the country. We have heard everything from a magnificent pipe organ to guitars and drums. We have sung Evening Prayers without any accompaniment at all, LSB hymns in Spanish and the Doxology in Hawaiian. We have stepped into congregations where we already knew almost everyone there and congregations where we did not know a soul. One congregation enthusiastically clapped for the sermon and another for the organist! The buildings ranged from gothic to California Spanish to midcentury modern. In the “Show Me” state of Missouri people asked a lot of great questions, in Hawaii I was hugged and kissed a lot, there really was a lot of warmth and love in the “Sunshine State” of Florida and California churches never fail to show a tremendous amount of enthusiasm every single time we present.
When we visit churches and talk about our mission work in Eurasia we always conclude with a picture of the Maui banyan tree. It is such a perfect representation of the Christ's Church. Even though there are many branches and trunks there is only one tree. Every church we visited was centered in Christ and his word and sacraments.