This photo is what is available now of an experiment which started long ago. When I was growing up, our school district had a policy of subscribing every student in the school to a weekly print publication entitled: Scholastic Weekly Reader. This was an edgy, decidedly liberal—perhaps even UN initiative driven—news-like publication. It had different versions for different aged children with articles for children written at their reading level. We would read some of the propaganda pieces together in class and others the staff would let us read on our own time, if we desired to do so. There were also discounted books of educational quality but of interest to children for low-prices (which I frequently ordered as many as I could). There were games, contests and other “goodies” or rewards attributed to reading the weekly reader editions.
One day, our Weekly Reader had a brand new article in it about how some day the earth may not be inhabitable any longer, but that we don't need to worry because those awesome scientists (sigh) were building Noah's Ark for our generation—a place for Humans to “escape to” when things get bad here on Earth. I've heard it called Noah's Ark, the University of Arizona's Biosphere (1 and 2), Earthship 1 and 2, and a number of other names including: crazy!
The original photo was of a pretty young scientist gal entering the navy-vessel-like hatch door, to their experimental environment with her tooth brush in hand. Talk about an agenda piece! Woman's lib, science is our replacement savior, save the earth, and evolution all rolled into one large propaganda piece.
Getting back to the weekly reader article—it said a group of scientists crawled into the hatch and had themselves locked in after spending huge amounts of time and money preplanning everything they would need to sustain life. They were doing this, the article said, to see what types of things we would need to bring with us, into space, in order to sustain human existence on another people-friendly planet. Throughout the following school months, the Weekly Reader editions periodically updated the story of what was being learned by these scientists. While there were a lot of lessons learned, and the first experiment grotesquely FAILED, there was one lesson, I remembered best of all!
What was the lesson they learned which I most recalled? It was the trees.
You see the scientists tried to recreate within the earthship biodome one, their first experiment, everything needed for life on earth—only they quickly discovered inside their container they weren't very good at knowing earth science well enough to know how every living thing impacts another. The decisions they made were not sufficient. The Weekly Reader editions emphasized what they discovered about the trees. The trees needed storms, wind, tough circumstances or they broke. They needed opposition to be strong.
Not long after that, some buzz went around the school. Some goofy-looking people were standing at a particular corner of the school grounds handing out Bibles to anyone and every one who requested them. Long story short—I was given my first Bible. My family weren't believers so this is the first time I ever heard anything from Scripture other than in a TV commercial! It was a “new testament bible” with the Psalms and Proverbs added (even at the time, I thought it was odd to have some but not all of the Bible—but it was free and I loved to read, so away I read...) At that time, no doubt that's why the story of the trees in the biodome caught my eye,
I really loved to hike. I would spend every free moment I could hiking through the woods, observing wildlife, enjoying swimming in the rivers and lakes the midwest is so known for, and of course you cannot enjoy hiking in the woods without noticing TREES. It was so amazing to me how the sunshine came through the leaves, how the trees took our garbage and recycled it into the air we needed to breathe—I was pretty amazed with trees. I knew which ones were good for shelter, which ones were excellent for starting camp/cooking fires, which ones burned longer and gave better heat, and which ones NOT to touch for fear of itches and blisters, even which were able to provide food(s).
Can you imagine what it meant to me, when I turned and read the words of my beloved ancestor, whom I loved immediately upon reading his writings though it would be many decades later when YHWH told me we were related? There it was...in the very first Psalm:
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
I was SO delighted! This was something I could totally understand. I could be like those mighty oak trees planted in YHWH's land, drawing goodness up and into my being—and growing strong in it! HalleluYAH!
At that time, I was also into gardening. I had my own garden and enjoyed growing things. I also help several elderly neighbors who welcomed my company and help tending to their gardens—and who were such an amazing source of gardening tips! After surviving through some deadly tornadoes (and re-affirmed later in life going through some hurricanes) all of the plants fared better AFTER the worst storms. Anything which needed pruning—which was sapping the roots of its life-giving strength fell off in the storms and the rest of the plant or tree did better.
It wasn't long after that I discovered the great joy of some other verses, and some others. And then there was this one:
Now things started to make sense. I was indeed like a “tree”....and everything which ever happened to me in my less than stellar family life, made me stronger—just like the scientists had discovered in the Weekly Reader reports—in order to grow strong everything HE made must go through “some things” which help produce that strength. HalleluYAH!!
Well it wasn't long after that and YHWH whisked me away to HIS land. Standing in the land, on what I would later learn was preparation day for HIS (restored, Holy Time) Sabbath just out side the wailing wall. That very place where I stood to pray to HIM asking for HIS help to complete an assignment for my foreign exchange summer class HE revealed to me who I was to HIM. HalleluYAH!
Some time later, HE brought Eliyahu and me together and as we were raising our children, Psalm 1 was ALWAYS a big part of the teaching materials. No matter what happened, no matter who thought what, mom's explanation to the children always seemed to come back to one of these Scriptures!
On the last day of Sukkot, after all of the live-streaming activities had concluded, all of the fine folks in attendance for the set-apart 7th month activities with us here at the Tsiyon headquarters gathered inside (the weather outside wasn't so great). We danced. We sang. We worshiped all together. One of the great joys was when the song, Oaks of Righteousness, by Mishkanim, started playing. It meant so much to me to see my new-found friend Linda dancing and worshiping after she had worked so hard all week to help lead everyone in worship through her own music, the concert, and willing-servant heart doing what ever she could to bless others: cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, sharing Scripture, sharing music, sharing a testimony or two—and here she was dancing, singing, and worshiping to also being firmly planted by YHWH into the amazing things HE is doing in and through HIS people. Like me, many of the others here are shy about being on camera—but I managed to snap a shot of this awesome moment—when like minded folks in HIM were appreciating all that HE does to strength us and help us grow up into mighty warriors for HIM and HIS Kingdom and HIS people.
May HE be lifted up and glorified by HIS people, everywhere!
Oaks of Righteousness - Mishkanim
The Spirit of my Elohim is upon me
Because He has anointed me to
Bring good news to the poor
Bind up the broken hearted
Proclaim freedom for the captives
The opening of prison for them that are bound
And declare the sovereign year of favor
The day of vengeance of Yahweh
To comfort all who mourn in Tsiyon
With a crown of beauty for ashes
And the oil of gladness for mourning
And a garment of praise for a spirit of despair
1, 2, 3, 4,
They shall be called
Oaks of righteousness
The planting of YHWH
For His Glory