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Tree Planting Commemorates Baptism Promises


On a chilly Easter morning, the congregation of Creston Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Mich., moved outside at the conclusion of their worship service to plant two small apple trees. The saplings were to commemorate the baptisms that had occurred earlier that morning.

Children of Creston CRC help plant apple trees as a symbol of God’s baptism promises.

Gary and Rachael Mouw were among several new members welcomed at Creston Church that morning. Three of their children were baptized as part of the service.

Elder Lance Kraai had been part of a small group discussing Walter Bruggemann’s book The Prophetic Imagination. The book encourages Christians to express their faith through experiential, sacramental symbols of hope. So as he planned for the baptism with the Mouw family, he wanted to commemorate the event by planting trees.

Trees symbolize that things do grow and get better, Kraai said. Planting trees for 10 to 100 or even 300 years out is a clear demonstration of hope in God’s promise.

“Right now these trees are not very impressive, but we believe that they will one day produce apples that can be made into cider and shared with our neighbors,” Kraai said at the tree planting. “Likewise, this morning we claimed God’s promises to your children, and we believe that one day you will produce fruit that will be a blessing to your neighbors.”

The children of the congregation assisted in planting the trees and spreading mulch over their roots. “The kids were excited to be baptized and plant the trees,” said Rachael Mouw, “They will pay special attention to growth of the trees because they helped plant them.”

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