Throughout Lent our Curate, the Revd Caitlin Carmichael-Davis, will be writing reflections, inspired by #LiveLent, on our website. The first is about woodland.
“The trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord” Chronicles 1 16.33
Trees are a vital part of God’s world — they absorb carbon from the atmosphere, they prevent flooding, they protect soil and provide homes for wildlife.
Recently a revolution has been taking place in the scientific understanding of trees —the latest studies demonstrate that they are even more complex and interesting than we thought. You can find an old stump, hundreds of years old, without any green leaves. But it is alive. It is alive because the neighbour trees are supporting it with sugar solutions transferred through shared root systems. So trees don’t just compete against each other for light and space, they keep each other alive. And trees communicate with each other — sending electrical distress signals through their roots to other trees, giving off chemical alarm calls to warn each other about insects, droughts and other dangers. They share water and resources as a community, redistributing them to the vulnerable — the old and the very young.
Look carefully at trees and you can encounter the true wonder of God’s creation — these mysterious, ancient, companionable forests, old with the knowledge of the Lord.
If you visit Ripon Cathedral before Easter you will find a sapling, budding into leaf during Lent. This is an opportunity to give thanks to God for the beauty of the world, and to remember its preciousness. But it is also an opportunity to reflect on the damage we have inflicted on creation— rising global temperatures, pollution, the destruction of habitats. You can write a lent pledge on one of the labels provided and attach it to the tree — making a promise to care better for God’s world.
This week, for example, you could promise to plant a tree or ask the woodland trust to plant one for you (www.woodlandtrust.og.uk).
You can find more ideas and inspiration in the #LiveLent booklet available in the shop or search for the app.