I’ve had a few folks ask me if I’d share the poem I wrote and read at the Annual Congregational Meeting. Here it is!

How many trees were felled
for the making of this place?
And where did they come from?
Some came, surely from not so far away
rooted and raised in the Northwest rain
they knew this land well
its culture and climate
its soil and soul.
Some came from further afield 
(or further aforest)
brought here by mighty ships
on mightier swells
bringing the beauty and sins of distant lands
to this home where they came to live and love.

What did the trees look like before they came?
Some had a strength and sturdiness
that came with great age
which they gave to fortify the place,
now mighty beams lifting ceiling and sight
to Things Above.
Some came diseased, deadened, warped
and found in the giving of themselves to the place
that they now had a place.
Some came too rigid
and were softened, bent,
and in their bending they became
instruments for stringed songs
violins, guitars, cellos, violas and basses
from them rose a resonance
a beauty not possible before their bending
a freedom not imagined before giving themselves up.

How many trees were felled for the making of this place?
On the sanctuary ceiling are rows of 
planks upon planks upon planks
easy to overlook or to take for granted
and yet if just one was missing
everyone would notice the gaping gap
and the place would feel forever incomplete.
Trees that are now pulpit, font, table
handed themselves over to careful carving
the chipping away, that something
always seen in them 
that they could not see in themselves
might be revealed and discovered,
and in the beauty unveiled in the carving,
these containers of the Holy
point to the beauty of the plain elements they hold
bread and cup, water, an old book
a heavenly feast, spring of eternal life, the Word made flesh.

How many trees were felled for the making of this place? 
Many trees, and only one tree
that cursed tree
that sits in the center of the place 
where the Carpenter gave his life for the forest
in their surrender to the Carpenter killed on the tree
together they have made 
and are making and 
are being made by this place
felled trees now trees of the field
clapping their hands in joy
planted by streams of water
in giving their lives up
to the place, to the Lord of the place
they have been found
in their dying, here at last, they live.


2 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing the grace of these thoughts and words. Words that bring pictures and comfort and peace.

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