(Psalm 92:12 ESV)
Trees give shade, produce flowers, fruit and nuts, and provide homes for birds and squirrels. Cut down and transformed by human labour, trees also provide human habitats. Most of us live in houses built with wooden frames; thus, in effect, we dwell in tree houses, even if we don’t live among branches and foliage.
Leaves on deciduous trees glitter like green emeralds in the summer sun, then turn colour and fall to the ground in autumn, dying and decomposing into the earth. Coniferous trees bravely keep alive the evergreen promise of spring, even as they shoulder mounds of snow. Trees show that our lives run in a continuous cycle of wintry death and resurrection.
On Palm Sunday Jesus enters Jerusalem on a pathway of tree branches. On Good Friday He is fastened to the tree of the cross where He withers and dies. And on Easter Sunday, Jesus rises again to become the good and fruitful tree into which we are grafted as branches.
With that, as you tend to your own trees this spring, be like a tree planted by streams of water (Ps. 1.3), rooted and grounded in God’s love (Eph. 3.17) – a love stronger than death (Song 8:6). Abide in Christ through prayer to yield the fruit of the Spirit (John 15.5; Gal. 5.22) and bear leaves for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22.2), starting with your family & friends, your neighbourhood, your church and community.
This reflection is based on Peter J. Leithart, ‘Introduction’ to James B. Jordan, Trees and Thorns: Studies in the First Four Chapters of Genesis (Theopolis Books, 2020), p. ix-x.