Thursday, October 01, 2015
God in the Forest
Last Sunday we heard a passage of scripture from the book of Amos the Hebrew prophet who lived centuries before Jesus. We don't get biographies of these biblical prophets but Amos tells us that he was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees. Both are rather lowly tasks, the role of "dresser" being the piercing of the small figs of these trees.
Sometimes though it is in the solitude that insight and profound thoughts are born. In the midst of the trees God is alive, and strength is given for daunting tasks. The "garden" of Gethsemane was and still is an olive grove of ancient trees. When we visit it today some of the trees we see were likely present as Jesus agonized over his fate.
I didn't realize when I chose the Amos passage for Creation Time that it was the end of Forest Week, although the week seems to be more an industry opportunity for fire prevention awareness than a celebration of trees. No matter. Every week should be Forest Appreciation Week. Even though we are an atrocious species for slaughtering trees a recent satellite "census" suggests there are far more trees on Planet Earth than previously thought -- 3.04 trillion, in fact. By my rudimentary math that is about 45 trees for every human. Perhaps they should rise up like an army of testy Ents and fight back.
We have flowering and fruiting trees in our yard, which are a delight. This summer though our paddling led us past some true giants of various species. We kayaked up the Salmon River from just north of Shannonville one evening. Just before reaching the 401 we saw massive willows, beeches, pines, and a magnificent oak. The folk in the vehicles hurtling along the highway have no idea that they are so close at hand.
Of course we are beginning to enjoy the beauty of changing colours, and where better to see this than in Ontario?
Trees are a gift of God, and beneath them we can ponder what really matters, wherever that may lead us.