Underneath the spreading Chestnut tree part 2
It is almost a year ago that I started talking about the Horse Chestnut tree in the Rectory garden. I love it! Horse Chestnut trees are amongst my favourite of trees - with the White Hornbeam up there too - and I can easily spend time, lots of it, looking at the tree and admiring it. It is only recently that someone who follows the blog has asked me about my favourite tree and so the update!
You might remember last year it only had 19 candle flowers and about 3 conkers at the end of the season, but this year it was awash with bright green very early in the season and is covered now with so many candle flower buds that I cannot count them all. The odd petals on a large number of the candles are already just tinged with the creamy pink of the flower and its scent is so powerful and sweet. It is looking good and I'm just hoping Jack Frost keeps away!
But this tree offers so much to us and it is in many ways a tree of prayer for me. Now I promise I am not going all tree-huggy and eco green on you, but such a tree lends itself easily to being a prayer tree. What I am saying is not that we could try and tie prayers to it as that would be impossible here, but rather to look at this large tree, its roots, trunk, branches, leaves and flowers to aid my prayers or for that matter anyone else's too.
The roots speak of the vastness of the created world, often so much more than we think about, so much that we don't know about it and even down to tiny rootlets which could represent what we fail to do in our stewardship of the earth's resources. The need for water, food, shelter, and everything that the tree can provide shelter, shade, safety etc
The trunk, rough and sometimes gnarled, and in this tree covered with tiny shoots, is like the cities and communities of our world. It reminds us of agriculture and industry as the tree absorbs that which isn't good and gives out that which is good. The developments in the world are huge, so can this tree become. The Horse Chestnut is said to be good at trying to protect the body from cancer, improving male fertility and many anti-inflammatory qualities in veins and can aid the issues of hemorrhoids. It has a beauty and a power when it speaks of God in the naked glory of the tree in Winter and fully clothed in Summer.
Then the truck which is tall, splits into branches which can speak of the church which is divided into so many denominations which have different emphasis. Some churches are lofty cathedrals or tin tabernacles, Handel Messiah chapels to quiet rural churches, lively Black led churches or powerful Spirit led congregation, GLBT congregations and monastic communities, and so on. The churches proclaim Jesus as Lord and each stand in their own tradition. So prayers for all churches, for their varied leaders and their place within each community. Let us pray too for our ministry Area, Edwin, Craig, Rhian, Sue, Keith, Hazel and Penny.
The green leaves of Spring speak to us of families both in our church and biological groupings. Each leaf although similar is different in some way and so to pray and return thanks for differences, for colour and shape, for abilities, for ties to one another for partners, children, for serving opportunities in the church and community. Also as we are all unique we can be together and working as family, unity and celebrating our diversity as well.
Finally, we hit the flower candles, delicate, sweet smelling and the means by which the tree continues to grow and flourish. The flowers can be a reminder of us before God. To know the love, peace and hope we are given through Jesus Christ. It also is a sign that we can respond to God and his calling of each and everyone of us through prayer but also by actively sharing our faith daily.
See if you can find a prayer tree in your garden or on your walk. What does it speak to you about in prayer? Is it about faith? Is it about your life? etc. Try it out and see how it goes!