Friday, December 09, 2005

Advent: Week 2 Day 7

The Prophecy of Jeremiah

"I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David... never will there lack a descendant of David on the throne. Never will there lack a priest to stand in My presence, to offer daily sacrifice..."

Again we hear another mention of this "tree" and "branch" business, and it is tied together with both the perpetual kingship and also a perpetual priesthood. And again we hear these words echoed in our gospel-tuned memories: "I am the Vine, you are the branches. Apart from Me you can do nothing, but with Me you will bear much fruit." This tree is a fruit-bearing tree, and by its fruits it will be known. Truly and in a mnost amazing manner, we who failed because of a tree will come to supplant it.... and through Jesus it will be somehow both regal and holy - we are the branches, after all.

And since I am a computer scientist, and "trees" have a special significance for us, I will take this opportunity to here ponder a little about that most amazing word called "hierarchy" and its relation to this prophecy. That word has Greek roots (no pun intended!) one translation is "high priest"; another might be "holy order" - NOT holy ORDERS, though that plays a useful role in instruction. The word is often used in a very broad sense: anything which follows a "layered" order or maybe "indented" design like the old outlines we were forced to do in school! Nowadays the balnd corporate way of saying this is "org chart". The classic one in Catholicism is: Pope, Bishop, Priest, Layman (other offices like Cardinal and Monsignor and Archbishop enter into more detailed diagrams; we don't have room to explore them today.)

But for most users of popular operating systems, the term appears in the well-known "hierarchical file system" which has something called the "root" (often spelled "c:") and then main branches from that root, and from those more branches, and so forth, until one ends with a file (which one reads or edits or whatever). The branches which can contain either MORE branches or leaves (the files) are correctly called "directories". A directory is like a BOX. It can contain OTHER boxes, or it can have, uh, BOOKS. A book cannot contain a box. The outermost box (which is not inside anything else) is called the ROOT. The boxes are like branches which can sprout smaller branches or leaves. The leaves do NOT sprout branches; they are the end. Now perhaps you see the tree-image, and why this has such curious application? Trees, then, are not just for computers, or for corporations, or even for the Church... But it is strange (and exciting) to think of this fruitful concept which Jeremiah foretold as a trademark of the One Who is coming...

"And some seeds fell on good soil, where they grew and bore fruit: thirty, or sixty, or one hundred fold."


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