Pray With Us

Dear Friends,

November always seems to me to be a long month! But we are now over half way through.  But in these last weeks I have been haunted by the felling of that sycamore tree at Hadrian’s Wall earlier in the autumn. It was a landmark between two hills & was around 300 years old.  For many, that tree symbolized hope, thriving in a harsh and exposed landscape. Marriage proposals were made under its branches, and the ashes of loved ones were scattered around it.  Families gathered under its shade for reunions, and individuals journeyed to the tree for meditation and reflection. It served as a cherished landmark for hikers along the Hadrian Wall. Photographers captured its iconic presence in various conditions, from daylight to dusk, during storms, under threatening skies, and beneath sunny blue skies.

It is difficult to imagine what is behind this seemingly wanton destructive act.  As a result many people have reflected on this tree and many others.  That is nothing new & our attachments today include some of the poems that trees have inspired.

Our blessing today is a Celtic one from ‘Lighten our Darkness’.

With our love & prayer


Binsey Poplars

felled 1879


My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,

  Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,

  All felled, felled, are all felled;

    Of a fresh and following folded rank

                Not spared, not one

                That dandled a sandalled

         Shadow that swam or sank

On meadow & river & wind-wandering weed-winding bank.

  O if we but knew what we do

         When we delve or hew —

     Hack and rack the growing green!

          Since country is so tender

     To touch, her being só slender,

     That, like this sleek and seeing ball

     But a prick will make no eye at all,

     Where we, even where we mean

                 To mend her we end her,

            When we hew or delve:

After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.

  Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve

     Strokes of havoc unselve

           The sweet especial scene,

     Rural scene, a rural scene,

     Sweet especial rural scene.





A few of the many references to trees in the psalms:


Psalm 96:12 “Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;

                    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.


Psalm 104:16 ‘’The trees of the Lord are well watered,
                         the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
                                 There the birds make their nests; the stork has

                       its home in the junipers.


Psalm 1;1-3 “ Blessed is the one whose delight is in the law of

                       the Lord and who meditates on his law day and

                       night. That person is like a tree planted by

                       streams of water, which yields its fruit in season

                       and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they

                       do prospers.


Psalm 52. 8 “But I, like a green olive tree in the house of God,

                     trust in the kindness of God forever and ever.”


And Isaiah 55:12

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”



The Way through the Woods

Rudyard Kipling

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods. . . .
But there is no road through the woods.



Under the Sycamore Tree

Nick Baker


Under the sycamore tree let us meet;
shelter a while from the afternoon heat.
Others make haste but we’ll make our retreat
under the sycamore tree.

Under the sycamore tree let us sit.
Feel the sap rising and dwell upon it.
Sample the generous shade for a bit
under the sycamore tree.

Under the sycamore tree let us stay
till all our worries have tumbled away;
till midnight fairies have come out to play
under the sycamore tree.

Under the sycamore tree let us dream,
dream that our toils aren’t as bad as they seem;
gift us sweet grace and the power to redeem
under the sycamore tree,
under the sycamore tree.