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“Raise your hands to God,” the pastor says. A young tree stands before me in this outdoor arena of gardens and green grass, raising its limbs as we raise our arms. And my eyes are not on the sky as requested, but on this tree before me.

As the light rain clears the air of the smoke of distant wildfires, we stand here in this grassy amphitheater of Applegate, my eyes fixed on the young tree before me, raising its limbs heavenward. Do not all things point to Jesus?

I hear the wind in the trees. I hear the water falling in crystal cadence into the deep blue baptism pool. The mountains surround us, and we fill them with song. In ancient times we were killed in amphitheaters. Now, as back then, we fill them with victory. And peace. Fresh, sweet air, washed by rain.