sexta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2015


That person is like a tree
planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Psalm 1:3a (read 1:1-6) NIV

Without the example of the trees, our spirituality could be limited to personal piety. Our ideal would be to keep good company, to void doing evil or even the appearance of evil and to think pure thoughts. Our goal of religiousness would be to keep ourselves pure, to get along well with our brothers and sisters in the faith and to read the Bible. In order to be a good church member it would be sufficient to be assiduous in worship, be steadfast in doctrine and be good tithers.

But the example of a tree changes this concept. It can teach us beautiful lessons and enrich our lives.

In the world of nature the trees of a species aren’t gathered in exclusive areas. There is always a tree biodiversity, each preserving its own nature while contributing to the good of the others. One species does not organize itself into an orchard, but rather, mixes with the others and beautifies the entire forest. In contrast, humans tend to form homogeneous groups: clans, religions, churches, synagogues, mosques, clubs, societies, associations, etc. for mutual benefit. Human nature resists heterogeneity and finds it threatening. One of the tree’s secrets is its ability to thrive in diversity.

This psalm cites other secrets: roots, leaves and fruits.

The roots bind the tree to the source of nutrition. Roots seek food and water deep in the soil, and at the same time, give firmness against the gusty winds. The deeper the roots, the more support. People also need "roots" in order to live and grow. The psalmist describes the source of our support as "the law of the Lord". This law is much more than a few words etched in stone or paper. It includes everything that God writes in nature and history. The psalm cites the lessons that trees teach us. If we pay attention we can see the Lord’s law written in all of creation. To have roots is to have sensitivity to read, learn and meditate on all that goes on around us.

The tree is planted in the earth but facing the sun. If the roots unite it with earth, the leaves connect it to the heavens. The leaves capture the light energy and convert the nutrients which the roots bring from the earth into organic matter which is part of living organisms. The sunlight is as essential as the ground water for its life and growth. The sun to the tree is equal to meditation and prayer (listening to the Divine) for humans. We are not just dust. We do not live only on bread. We are spirit (consciousness) and we feed upon love, beauty and hope. Without this "bread" we lose our humanity and become monsters.

The fruit is the result of the joint action of the roots and leaves. They produce fruit that contains the seed of new life.

The absence of roots and leaves results in straw which is merely blown by the wind. We are seeing the effects of humanity without roots and leaves. Our materialistic culture is transforming people into "straw" which is blown by the winds of greed, hatred and prejudice.

It is no coincidence that the tree became the symbol of life! The results of deforestation are revealing how much the world needs trees. The first Psalm speaks of the importance of human beings becoming like trees and producing fruit to promote life. The world needs human trees.

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but 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.
Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

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