Monday 22nd March 2021

Day 34 Trees: Lungs of the World

Trees are mentioned in the Bible just about more than anything else. From the beginning of the book of Genesis, in the garden of Eden, we are told that “God planted every tree that was pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” These included the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Many of the great spiritual encounters God has with his people are by, or under, trees. And, of course, it was on a tree that Jesus was crucified. Jesus was even called the True Vine.
So trees have always played a significant role within the Jewish/Christian faith. Trees also play an important role in most other spiritual traditions. The more you learn about trees the more you understand why that must be; they are a most incredible aspect of creation and life. The Sacred Groves were seen as holy places long before the birth of Christianity, and were significant places of worship for the early Celtic church as well.
The great Naturalist and campaigner for wild places, John Muir, called trees and groves, ‘God’s first temples’, and always maintained that they remained so. Trees are the lungs of the world, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen vital for our lives. Not only that, we are told that chemicals released by networks of trees, plants and fungi communicating with each other, also benefit other living things as well, including human beings; another good reason for walking in forests and woodland. This is before we even begin to contemplate the majesty and beauty of trees, and the delight they bring to our planet. Along with fruits, nuts, and seeds they provide for us and other species, they also provide homes and shelter for so much of creation.
How easy it is to take trees for granted. They are sisters and brothers in life that very much deserve our attention, gratitude, and respect. Take some time to walk among them, sit by them, contemplate them, listen to them – and, if you are really daring, to hug them and embrace them! You will not be disappointed.
God has communicated with many through the life of trees over the years, and still does today if we take time to allow that to happen.

Jeremiah 1

The word of the Lord came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.”
Then the Lord said to me,
“You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.”

The Autumn Oak

The Oak in the Meadows
Is almost stripped and naked now.
What leaves remain are as pure gold;
It stands in the sun like a giant copper sculpture.
This morning the Egret flew out of it
Like a spirit of renewal
Ascending from the Tree of Life.

The Trees by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said:
The recent buds relax and spread
Their greenness in a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In full grown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.