Like a Tree

We thank you for trees–and for human lives.

The pecan tree had provided a canopy over our yard for as long as I have lived here. It was so present, I forgot to remember it was there. Does that make sense?

Last week, the tree was cut down. Thundered to the ground.

Now, it is gone. And I don’t think I realized until now just how important that tree was to how I see our yard. The yard looks vacant now. And up above, where the tree touched the skyline? Empty.

That tree shaded a corner of our world. Provided fruit for wintering squirrels. She was a noble tree, and birds of many kinds were drawn to her and made their nests in her kind and welcoming branches.

I am going to miss that tree. It is amazing just how much sunlight she filtered out from our yard, and I celebrate the new light gifted to us by the tree’s absence. But–yes–I will miss her.

So, today, I honor who she was in our lives and give thanks for God’s gift of trees. They teach us, I think, to send roots down deep into God’s earth. And they teach us to be nesting places for those who need shelter from life’s storms.

Planting, cultivating God,

We thank you for trees.
For roots that search out the depths of the earth.
For branches that reach out.
For leaves that dance and play in springtime sun.

Planting, cultivating God,
We thank you for trees.

Creating, loving God,

We thank you for human lives.
For faith that searches out the depths of life.
For actions that reach out, touch, and transform communities.
For hearts that dance and play in your gracious light.

Creating, loving God,
We thank you for human lives.

We gather today to thank you especially for human lives lost to Covid-19 and for those who risk their lives to care for others in these days.

They are like trees. Planted. Growing. Thriving.
We honor them today and seek your blessing on their lives.

Create us again, loving God.
Plant us by living streams.
Cultivate in us courage to reach out, touch, and transform.

We give you thanks. For trees. And human lives. Planted.

Amen and Amen.

Author: Jill Crainshaw

I am a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and an ordained PCUSA minister.

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