Blessed, Broken and Given

ImageYesterday, Anabelle and I went for a hike at the Muir Woods in Mill Valley, Marin County. I lucked on this shot of the giant redwoods standing tall and straining up to the sky, soaking up energy and sustenance from the sun to get. These enormous trees are experts in survival. They were already around when dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago. They were around when the saber toothed tigers and the mammoth elephants were struggling for survival during the Ice Age thousands of years ago. They saw the birth of man on this earth and will probably be around long after man is gone. Unless, of course, man cuts all of the remaining redwoods down for his personal gain. These magnificent trees are a great monument to the tremendous blessing that is life.

They stand tall in the face of the elements: wind, water, fire and even the shifting of the ground. They may be broken but they remain standing tall. All the buffeting by the elements only serves to make them stronger – to give shade and shelter to various life forms under their shade; to provide homes and a resting place to various birds and insects in their canopy; to give wood and fuel to man when they are taken down.

They survive standing tall together, closely interwoven with one another though their wide and complex root systems. They are very thirsty organisms, taking in as much as 500 gallons of water each day. No tree ever hoards all the water just for itself. This resource is shared through the complex root system that hold them together. Fitfully, a stand of several majestic redwoods in the park has been called the Redwoods Cathedral: quiet, solemn, a perfect place to celebrate and appreciate the blessing that is life, all raising a silent prayer of thanksgiving.

This is the Gospel written and proclaimed by nature. We have been blessed and continue being blessed with the gift of life. For this we give thanks. Then we are broken to be made stronger and to be given to others – in love, in service, in communion – as we share the same roots that hold us together.

Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied.And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
Luke 9:11-17

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