The hidden life within
Check out the stunning work of Italian artist Giuseppe Penone. He creates these sculptures by carving out the inside of a tree trunk, carefully leaving the knots of the tree in place, in order to reveal the “hidden sapling within.”
There is a beautiful picture of the Lord in this. Jesus spoke often about trees, vines, and branches. He did so because they present great illustrations of the reality of Christ and his body.
When we believe into Christ, a number of important things happen. One of those is that we lose our lives (the old self) and that is replaced by the life of Jesus (the new self). Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” That is not some metaphor or poetic language, it is the true reality of what has happened (John 6:63, Romans 8:9-11). Another is that the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. Our spirit and His spirit become one. They are inseparable. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”
In the image above the “hidden sapling” lives inside of the tree and his the foundation from which life and the branches spring from. This a picture, both of the one spirit (ours and his) now living inside of us and the life that Christ gives us.
While this image provides a great picture of our life in Christ, it also presents a great picture of Christ and the church, for He stated that He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:1-11). The vine and the branches together express and make visible the tree. In the same way we (His body) and Him (the head), combine to make visible and express a person, namely Christ (Eph 1:22-23, Col 1:18, Col 2:18-19).