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‘The Giving of Life for Life’

By The Revd Preb Julian Ould

Over the years I have collected many stories that try to bring understanding to events like the crucifixion and resurrection. Many of them have been for children, which have equally been appreciated by adults, but then we are all children at heart. Well, I am a least!

As we celebrate the Easter story, I offer this account, which doesn’t begin to fully explain death and resurrection, but provides a pleasing insight which I find helpful and hope you will too.

The Bamboo Tree stood tall and straight, holding up its head proudly because it knows it was the master’s favourite plant. Its tall, straight stems with their thick bunches of waving leaves were far taller than he was.

When the master walked in the garden, the bamboo tree would bow its proud head in greeting. The master would sit under the bamboo in the shade of its thick leaves, and look across his dry fields. The bamboo was proud to serve his master in this way.

The master also noticed a small spring of water which bubbled out of the ground and then lost itself among the moss and stones, and he wondered.

One day, the master stood before the bamboo tree and said: ‘Bamboo, bamboo, I’m going to cut you down.’

‘Cut me down! Oh no, master, no! How can I then shade you from the heat of the day?’

‘Your shade is good, but it is not enough if you are to really serve me. I must cut you down Bamboo.’

The bamboo tree bowed its head sadly. ‘Very well, master. Cut me down if that is the only way I can serve you.’

‘That is the only way,’ said the master. So, he cut the bamboo tree down.

The next day, the master stood looking at the proud bamboo tree lying on the ground, its stems long and straight and its leaves spread out.

‘Bamboo, bamboo,’ said the master, ‘I must cut off your leaves, all of them.’

‘Very well,’ said the bamboo. ‘Cut off all my leaves for I would serve you.’

The bamboo tree lay alone for a time, thinking sadly of all its lost beauty and wondering what else the master had in store for it.

Presently, the master returned and said: ‘Bamboo, bamboo, you are fine and strong and straight. I shall split you in half from top to bottom and take your core.’

‘Oh no, master, no,’ wailed the bamboo tree. ‘I shall die if you do that. I will serve you any way I can, but do not split me.’

‘Bamboo, bamboo, you cannot serve me unless I split you in two and take out your core.’

‘As you will, master,’ whispered the bamboo tree.

So, the master split the bamboo from end to end and took out the core. Then he laid the two halves of the stem end to end and fastened them firmly together.

One end he laid at the mouth of the little spring. The other end he placed in his rice field, which was so parched and dry.

Soon the clear spring water was running down from the spring, down the channel made by the bamboo stem, into the dry rice field, bringing refreshment to the drooping, dry plants.

So, the bamboo tree died and brought new life to the master’s rice field. The rice grew tall and strong and brought life to many people.