The park had a heavy, almost enclosed atmosphere this Sunday which seemed to aid our quiet reflection amongst the trees. We spent some of the time wandering around the trees with the following poem to inspire us:
An October Astonishment
by Garth Gilchrist
When I touched the yellow maple leaves
They entered me
Without my knowing
This morning after I’d picked them
I had their gold sweetness
In my veins
It was after holding them in my hands
Upon my skin
In the slant light dewy morning
Plunging my nose deep in amongst them
Wet and cold, snuffling
The autumn scent
Suffused into air and me
My eyes fixed on their open hands
Veined like mine
My fingers traced their fingers
Crimson stems in my palms
Conduits through which shape
And substance entered —
Only vaguely I sensed
Sap entering me
This morning, after
In my own bed I woke
Bathed full and swimming in yellow light
That hovers in and around
Smooth maple branches in late October
On crisp mornings
I’d fondled the seeds, too,
Fuzzy winged pods
Full of imperceptible roots
Bark and limbs
A million invisible leaves
I’d given handfuls to the waiting children
They went twirling
Whirling through the sky
Eager, alive with mapleness
Maybe for this
I woke that morning
Wholly content, pierced through
Astounded in my bed, wrapped
In the warm light
Garth Gilchrist of San Rafael, Ca, is an environmental storyteller
We gathered leaves and used them in our confession:
Gen 3 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
You have given us a world of beauty, and we have spoilt it.
A world to feed us, and so many go hungry.
A world of riches, and we are unwilling to share.
A world to care for, and we think only of ourselves.
Forgive us, gracious God,
for those times your heart is saddened
by our selfishness.
For those times we have no thought for others, no cares but ours.
Enable us to see this world anew
as a gift from you,
to be shared and nurtured,
and those who live upon it
to be loved and cared for.
We lay down our leaves
And ask for your forgiveness and renewal
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
Remembering the following words from Revelation, we wrote the names of nations who need God’s healing now on dried leaves we had collected earlier in the week:
Rev 22:2 Eden Restored 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
And then using similar words from Ezekiel we did the same for people known to us who need Jesus close at this time:
Ezekiel 47:12 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
Finally, we shared bread and wine using these words:
We remember Christ Jesus who hung on a tree for the healing of the nations
This is his body – for our healing
Maranatha! Come soon Lord Jesus.
This is his blood – giving us life
Maranatha! Come soon Lord Jesus.
The stillness of the air and the colours around us made for a gentle and special time together. It never fails to inspire worshipping God outdoors!