Earlier this week, I planted a small tree. Of course I do not know if it will survive, or what will happen to it. But just the act of planting it seems important.

 

Scientists have calculated that the Earth has lost more than half its trees since humans first learned how to cut them down. And in an age when we know that trees are one of the best ways to combat climate change, and are essential to our own survival, deforestation is continuing at an alarming pace. Scientists tell us that soon the Amazon rainforest, which is often referred to as the ‘lungs of the world,’ could die as loss of trees causes the local climate to become drier so rainforest trees cannot survive. So planting trees has never been more important than it is now.

 

Like most of us, I know the importance of planting trees, and I support charities that do so. But my own individual act of planting one small tree that I have watched grow from a seed is only partly linked with this. For me, there is something special about planting something that, if all goes well, will long outlive me. And I suspect people have always felt that way; I suspect that is why landscape gardeners like Capability Brown planted landscapes that he would never see grow to maturity. And why many people plant trees to commemorate births or deaths or special occasions.

 

Many world faiths, and many churches, actively plant trees, as part of their contribution towards safeguarding the planet, and supporting the world’s poorest people who are hardest hit by climate change and biodiversity loss. But many of the world’s faiths also believe in some kind of life beyond the life we know on Earth, and encourage their followers in various ways to look to a future beyond the life we know now. Christianity, along with other faiths, encourages its believers to look not only to their own future, but to actively work to build a better future for all creation, both those alive now, and those not yet born.

 

  • What have you done, or might you do, that will outlive you?

  • Do you believe it is important to look beyond your own lifetime? Why, or why not?

 

Prayer for the week - 10th April 2020

 

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