Over recent days one event has caused huge outrage over the social media channels – the senseless felling of the tree in the Sycamore Gap. There have been heartfelt tributes and memories shared of this feature amidst the expression of shock and loss. There have also been a number of mentions that if people are so affected by the demise of one tree, why are more not showing this with the loss of huge swathes of rainforest and other species. Sadly, I have never seen this tree in real life, but I do remember its role in the Kevin Costner film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. So why has this tragic, yet localised event seemingly resonated and prompted people to respond? Perhaps because of the personal impact it has had. People from all walks of life had a connection of some type with the tree, simply because it was there. It stood out as distinctive in the surrounding scenery and had done so for decades. Then suddenly and shockingly, it was gone, for no fathomable reason as far as anyone can tell at this point.
It's not that people do not acknowledge or care about the bigger issues, it is just that sometimes things are beyond our control or our ability to have an impact – to make a difference. Yet I wonder, if the fate of one tree can evoke a widespread response, what impact could lots of responses to lots of local issues have as they ripple out and cause us to consider the wider, connecting picture?
Yet even in this ending there is a glimmer of hope with suggestions that the stump may produce new shoots. We will have to wait and see.
Ephesians 3:17 tells us that "we are rooted and grounded in love". If you have ever seen the root system of trees you will know how extensive and deep they can go and they are all interconnected and part of the earth.
There is so much need for justice in the world, let's start with what we can and be open to hearing and responding to those who are doing what they can.
"Now to God who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory..." Ephesians 3:20-21a
For prayer this week:
- for Olive (a member of my friend's church) and all those who support her. She has been accepted for ministerial training at Queen's but cannot begin this until she has been given the right to stay in this country. After a 'no decision' (as in, they did not make a decision either way) on her previous appeal, she has to start the appeal process all over again.
- for all people seeking refuge – finding somewhere safe to live and be.