Pursued by the Creator of Trees

"A tree gives glory to God by being a tree." Thomas Merton

This quote, embossed on a small plaque at the foot of a newly planted tree, stretched up to me, a branch of God's tender love saying, "I see you." 

I was walking in a park which I formerly frequented when we lived in a nearby neighborhood. Now, I rarely enjoy its trees and walking path, but the Spring season beckoned me. Today, while I walked, I listened to today's episode of "Pray as you go" in which the daily text was Mark 16:15, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all of creation." That last phrase, "all of creation", grabbed my attention. 

All created things, not just individual people, are in need of the gospel of the kingdom through which Jesus Christ brings liberation from death and decay. "All creation groans," Paul wrote to the Roman believers. 

Perhaps, even trees are worthy of our "preaching." Even gardens, birds and all manner of wonders that fill the earth. The poem of Psalm 98 calls to all creation - hills, seas, rivers, trees - to "sing" and "make a joyful noise." 

So, as I listened to the reflection on Mark's ending to his gospel, in which he records Jesus' commission to the disciples, to go into all the world and preach the good news to all of creation, I was thinking about trees. In fact, specifically today, I had quaking aspen trees on my mind. I love Colorado. I want to be in Colorado most days. Aspen trees, in particular, with their delicate leaves that dance in the breeze, their white bark, and the golden flame of color in the Fall, are one of the beautiful parts of Colorado that captivate my attention. A "stand" or aspens, or even a thick forest of aspens, is a thing of beauty. I have wanted to plant one in my yard, but they aren't typically thought of as native to east central Illinois, so I've held back. But I had an itch yesterday to reconsider and I went online to find some on sale. I was debating the purchase in the back of my mind all day, and here I was in this park which I haven't visited in some time, as I meandered off the trail to a "random" tree I just happened to stumble by and I looked down at the plaque to read this quote by Thomas Merton - "A tree gives glory to God by being a tree." Well, perhaps it's a sign I thought. And then I wandered a few feet away to find what, you ask? Yes, an aspen tree planted in this very park. 

So, maybe planting a tree is part of preaching good news to all of creation. It's an act of hope, an investment in the future, a sign of blessing for the next generation who will surely enjoy the fruits or beauty or shade of a tree more than I who plant and wait for its maturity to slowly arrive. 


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