I was out exploring the other end of the Caledonian Canal, where it leaks out into Loch Ness. The outdoors just called to me yesterday, so I collected a bag full of breadcrumbs and headed off to Dochgarich where there are a couple of locks on the canal and a path to amble along.
The canal runs parallel to the river for quite a while. On my left was the canal, very tranquil and quiet, with the occasional boat motoring up or down it. On my right, a mere few yards away was the river - very noisy, and lively, with swirls and eddies. I was amazed to discover that the canal was flowing in the opposite direction to the river - I checked it out with Pooh-sticks! Which one would I prefer to be out in a canoe on? The canal would probably be the safest, except when motor boats came along. The river, infinitely more challenging I would imagine, and more interesting. Actually, I think I would prefer not to be out in a canoe at all!
There were lots of interesting trees along the side of the canal. I don't know varieties of trees, but some had multiple trunks that wound round each other, very think and very twisted and probably very old. Most of them had been marked in some way, not by the passage of nature, but by the penknife of man! There were weathered dates and initials but one trunk bore the words - "JESUS LOVES YOU, CHRIST DIED FOR SINNERS"
Is vandalism always vandalism no matter what has been written? I remembered a time when I was a young Christian reading the graffiti written on the back of a toilet door. Some of it was witty, but most comprised of who loved who and who "waz ere" and when. I thought about adding my own contribution along the lines of "Jesus loves you", but then vandalism is vandalism, damage to someone else's property is still damage not matter what your intentions are. I put my pen away.
The words on the tree reminded me of something I knew to be true. Being reminded is a good thing. For someone who did not know Jesus - would the words have meant anything? I think people learn about the love of God through the love his people show. Christ would want to engrave each of my words and each of my actions with a message of his love. In each encounter I have with people they need to be able to read the love of God written into my life.