There is a place in the dappled shade beneath the spreading elm where my true love and I sit on a summer morn. A breeze blows through and the birds sing sweet, and the dogs sleep quietly at our feet. In the dappled shade we sit and pray. In the dappled shade we sit and talk. Between us on the table are the remnants of breakfast, or perhaps of lunch. It is a private place, a family place, a place of sunshine and of dappled shade.
The prophet Micah says, “They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.” [i]
It is under the fig tree in the dappled shade that Jesus found Nathaniel, “Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." [ii] It is under the spreading elm in the dappled shade that we are seen by God and known by him, and it is in the dappled shade that we see Him, and in His light we see all that He has made.
One of the tragedies of our modern life is that so few people take time to sit with each other and talk and pray in the dappled shade.
But I hear a voice that says, “I have no dappled shade.”
It is a matter of looking, and it is a matter of desire. The tree was there and the breeze was there but we looked with eager eyes, and we saw and named the dappled shade; and we brought our chairs, and we brought our little table. We brought our breakfast tray and we brought our bibles and our books.
But most important we brought ourselves to sit and pray and share together. After all the dappled shade is not an accident, it is a decision and it is our decision to find a quiet place, that brought us to the dappled shade.