A Pastoral Word
Lenten Theme: The Tree of Life - Source of Healing and Growth for a Renewed Creation
The world in which we live is far from perfect. In our world, there is injustice, violence, hatred and greed. It is a long way from the Garden of Eden in which the Tree of Life first stood. Yet, even though there may be time and distance between the beginning of Paradise and now, our calling remains the same. We are to "till and keep" the garden. We are to take care of the space which contains the Tree of Life so that all can experience its beauty, so that all may find healing in its leaves. As people of faith, our calling always reminds us that "there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant."
Church Mother, St. Hildegard of Bingen describes this process as viriditas or "greening power." She believed that there is a life force or "living light" manifested in all things. This light infuses all creation with vitality. She argued that when this life force was blocked, the results were drought or infection, leading to brokenness in the wider community. She stated that our job as people of faith was to constantly recognize the places in our lives, in our community, in our world which were cut off from this greening power. We were called to work to remove the "blockages" so that the living light could flow once more, coming to fruition in our communities.
In other words, we are to "till and keep" the garden so that reconciliation can happen, so that healing can happen, so that growth can happen. By embracing this calling, we begin to address all the things which prevent us from connecting to the life force which flows through all creation.This greening of the Tree of Life will once again serve as a sign that God is still at work in this world.
During Lent, we will take a look at the seven sacred truths which are associated with the Tree of Life. Each of these seven truths hold universal meaning and relate to the work of healing and wholeness of the wider community. These truths ground us. They connect us. They stretch us and inspire us to reach towards the heavens. Join us in our call to "till and keep" the garden as we experience the greening power which join us all to the Tree of Life.