Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:13-21
Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.Theodore Roosevelt
Tourists go to California for many reasons. One is to see the majestic coastal redwoods. Four things stand out about these redwoods: They are old, tall, nurturing and interconnecting. They are old! California redwoods are among the oldest living things on the planet. Some live to be more than 2,000 years old! That’s old!
They are tall! Redwoods routinely soar to a height of more than 300 feet — the length of a football field! Sometimes, the tops are out of sight. The tallest redwood is “Hyperion” at 380 feet tall. Because people can be so mean, the location of the tallest trees like Hyperion is a closely guarded secret.
They are nurturing. Here’s what one source says: “Incredibly, mats of soil on the upper branches of the canopy support other plants and whole communities of worms, insects, salamanders and mammals. Plants that grow on other plants are called epiphytes; some of the redwoods’ epiphytes are trees themselves. Trees that have been documented growing on the coastal redwoods include cascara, Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, western hemlock and California bay laurel — some reaching astonishing heights of 40 feet.”
Their roots intertwine. The root system is rather shallow — only going down 6 to 12 feet deep. But the roots flare out horizontally, intertwining with the roots of other trees thereby finding support in the root systems of others. This interconnectedness greatly increases their stability.
We are like redwoods. We’re old
But we’re tall. We’re wise. We have gained some wisdom.
We nurture others, helping them to grow and develop into mature “trees” themselves.
And our roots intertwine. We depend on others. We in turn are strengthened by them, while providing support for them as well.
So this week, let’s be a tree — like the redwood tree!
O God, you are the Grand Tree of all other trees! You are the greatest! You have fed and protected me. Help me to grow old gracefully, to help others and find strength in the “roots” and presence of others. Amen.