Minister’s Reflections on Renewal

Confession of a Tree Hugger

The image above is of a moss-draped elder oak canopy in one of Savannah’s city squares. The photo is the work of Tim Mossholder (what an apt name!). 

A few weeks ago I strolled under this canopy in Savannah on a short vacation. My heart and soul filled with a sense of renewal in the presence of these trees. “Thank you!” I said aloud to the elder trees. 

Apart from their beauty, there is something about trees that renews me. I tried to make sense of this once. I learned that scientists have studied the healing power of forests to make people healthier, less likely to become ill, and to experience a lifted mood for days after exposure. Some have speculated that it is pheromones–chemical signals–given off by the trees. 

While I appreciate the study findings, it falls short of explaining my experience. For me, there is something about proximity too. I find potent renewal in the physical presence of an elder tree’s aura. Now, you may conceive of an aura as a spiritual essence, or you may prefer to understand it as an electromagnetic energy field. 

A tree’s electromagnetic aura has been observed to be about twice the size of what our hands feel or eyes see. When I place myself in that zone, I receive a gift that I can only describe as patient, wise acceptance inviting every cell to its true center. 

I’m not sure I want to fully explain this experience. But I do want to hang out with trees. So, if you see me staring at a tree, leaning on it, or even greeting it with appreciation, know that I am well in mind and body.

Whether you can make sense of it or not, may you find the precious moments, places, and experiences that bring you renewal. May you dwell there often and with ease. Whether it makes sense to anyone else or even to yourself. May you make time to experience the renewal your body and soul deserve. 

In faith,

Rev Pippin   

Look for more on this month’s theme and upcoming worship topics here.

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