Monthly blog

From the Vicar_February

Posted by on Sunday, February 2, 2014 Under: Vicar's Monthly Letters
Dear Friends in the parish and beyond,

Recently I was stopped at the railway line by a couple of trains. Usually I get irritated as the trains always seem to see me coming and choose to put the barriers down. But this time I found myself looking at one of the biggest trees near the line. All the leaves were off, so I could examine its whole structure, and I was interested to see how many branches had obviously lost their ends and then regrown. The tree wasn't a perfect shape either; one branch had grown out of alignment with the rest. And, yet, for all its battered branches and irregular shape, it was magnificent, towering up into the sky; and when it's in full leaf, quite majestic.

I have long seen trees as a picture of how God wants us to be, but this time it came home to me with a new force. These magnificent old trees take years to reach maturity, suffering storms and broken branches in their growth; and even when they are fully grown they still continue to flourish, producing new growth, leaves, flowers and seeds every year, maybe not growing dramatically any more, but still throwing themselves into fresh growth and procreation. And on this old tree most of the branches which had suffered damage had re-spouted and grown back. Only one branch had given up and died; I suppose in due course a gale will get rid of that branch naturally.

In the same way, how do we cope with the storms? Of course, they batter us and damage and hurt us; of course, they bow us down for a time. And of course, we are sometimes tempted to give up. But does the battering lead us to give up or does it provoke us, through our faith, to re-sprout, to find a different way through? Do we feel after a time that we can just sit back and go through the motions because we've made it and don't need to bother so much, or do we continue to struggle to be the people God wants us to be, even with growing older? Are we the sort of people that others can look at and see as magnificent, like that old tree, even with the hurts we've suffered and with perhaps being misshapen like my tree?

Of course, Jesus talked a lot about trees and vines, especially about their need to be fruitful and about our need to let Him prune us. Whether it's being pruned or whether it's suffering natural storm damage, life batters away at us; and yet God wants to enable us to cope, to carry on flourishing, and to be wonderful. That's quite a challenge for me at the beginning of this new year.

With best wishes,

In : Vicar's Monthly Letters 



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