Tree of suffering, tree of life

From the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, to the Tree of Calvary upon which Jesus was crucified, trees have long been powerful Christian symbols.

IMG_3028 cropped smaller2During Lent this year, we used the tree as our focal symbol. Folks were asked to write something that they needed to give up on a strip of cloth, which was then tied to our Tree of Suffering. Throughout Lent, our Tree served as a visual reminder of three things: that we each have something that we need to give up in our lives, that we are not alone in having shortcomings, and that we are not struggling alone to give them up. We have given them to God and so can count on God’s strength and grace to help us.

easter 2009 010 smaller2But just as spring transforms the bare branches into trees bursting with leaves and flowers, and just as the miracle of Easter transforms the cross from a tree of suffering into a tree of life, so too must our Lenten tree be transformed.

Just before Easter, members of the congregation were asked to think of a joy or blessing in their lives. Maybe family or a friend, good news recently received, or the blooming flowers they noticed on their way to church. Anything they would like to thank God for. These blessings were written on more strips of cloth, which were used to transform our Tree. Also on the Tree are the names of each member and friend of the congregation to remind us that each of us is a blessing in God’s world, even when we perhaps don’t feel like one.

In the Church, Easter is a season that lasts until Pentecost. As we look at our Tree of Life during Eastertide, we are reminded of all the blessings in our world and in our lives.

– Contributed by Kate Notley

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