Footprints daily reflection: 24 March
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
Author: Stephen Trew
On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.’
Trees. I love to walk in woodlands and smell the bark, the leaves and the earth. Spending time amongst creation, especially woodlands, can help restore our souls.
Ezekiel’s vision reflects both the creation in Genesis 2:9-10 and the new creation in Revelation 22:1-2. The stream is the living water, whose source we discover in scripture is Jesus Christ the creator and sustainer of all things. And alongside the river there are trees, lots of them.
Ezekiel 47:7 ‘I saw on the bank of the river a great many trees on the one side and on the other.’
When our lives are rooted in scripture and sustained by living water we can be like fruitful trees growing beside a river (Ps 1:1-3). Ezekiel saw in verse 12 trees that bore fruit for food and leaves for healing. This Lent season, ask the Lord Jesus for more living water, ask the Holy Spirit to grow good fruit in your life so you can bring nourishment and healing to others.
Ezekiel’s vision is full of abundance and biodiversity in a well-watered land. There are swarms of insects, freshwater fish and trees of all kinds. Today, however, around the globe we hear of the extinction of species, overfishing and deforestation. Climate change is making droughts more frequent and more severe; streams are drying up.
The effects of the ecological and climate crisis impact on the poorest of the world the hardest. We need to pray for justice for those who suffer. And let’s be generous when we are asked to support those in need. May our prayers not wither nor our fruitful giving fail.
One more thing about trees, they are renewed in spring. If you are in a spiritual winter, remember that trees on the banks of living waters can be reborn in a spiritual spring.
The Trees by Philip Larkin
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In full grown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
Pause for a moment before you pray. Still your thoughts, picture a stream and lots of trees.
Lord Jesus let me drink deeply your living water. Renew me and refresh me by your Holy Spirit. Help me to bring words of kindness, nourishment and healing to the people I meet today.
I pray for refreshing rain where there is drought, for food for those who hunger and shelter for those who are homeless. Help me to respond with generosity and inspire me to fight for justice for those who suffer.
Stephen Trew is a member of Magheralin Parish in Co. Armagh. He campaigns for churches to respond to the climate emergency and take meaningful actions like divesting from fossil fuels. He is married to Eileen and has two children in university.