22 August 2006

Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree

Today on our way back from Peoria, with a very punky daughter in tow, I stopped at Tanners' Apple Orchard. We were not there to get apples or even peaches. We just needed a place to stop and I remembered that they have goats and Annalivia would be excited by that.
Turns out that the apple orchard has apples! Go figure. They apparently ship them in from someplace that is already harvesting apples. (Where would that be?) One of the other great things about Tanners', aside from the goats, is that they have samples of their wares out for general consumption, so Annalivia and I ate some very crisp, very tart apples slices.
In the process of seeing goats and wandering around the orchard, we happened to get a really good look at an apple tree coming into fruition. I don't actually think I've been near a gorgeous orchard apple for a long time -- since I was a kid, probably. I looked up into these branches, absolutely laden with beautiful fruit, fecund with its offering that is on the precipice of ripeness and I thought about this lovely early American hymn...

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

Edit to add: Listen to a setting by Elizabeth Poston here. This is performed by Nova Singers, an amazing group of professional singers in Galesburg, IL with whom I was priveleged to sing for two seasons!


Anonymous said...

I have never heard of this hymn...but it is incredible. I am blessed with 5! overgrown, dripping with apples, apple trees and I think this hymn must become part of my home somewhere, somehow.

You bless me. Thanks for your support on "30 Days." It is so encouraging to find like-minds.

Kalin said...


That would be cause to sound the proverbial conch and summon hoards of McClures to descend upon it.

April said...

Tonia... I highly recommend the version by Elizabeth Poston. It's absolutely ethereally gorgeous, especially in women's voices. Lovely. I wish I could figure out how to post an mp3 of this!

Kali... There was a jelly table, but get this -- WITHOUT crackers!! What kind of jelly table goes without crackers?? I thought about dipping in with my fingers, but declined...

Psalmist said...

Amen about the Poston setting, April. I sang with a wonderful ensemble that recorded it. I still get chills just thinking about the 4-part women's verse...such exquisite harmony!


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