Of God, Trees And Life – OpEd


On a windy sunny Wednesday last week, I stopped sowing seeds and stretched my back for a much needed rest as I wiped the dirty sweat from my brow. I glanced at the nearby forest which greets me daily. It is suffused with beauty. Nature calls upon me to stop and give thanks for the glory of God’s creation.

I am fortunate as I am surrounded with pine, alder, Calliandra, Flemingia and many indigenous trees I can’t really identify. Their colorful blossoms: blush red and pink flowers, the leaves adorned with yellow, brown and reddish hues are just amazing at this time of the year. Even when on my desktop computer, I take a moment to leave the confines of my room and house to my garden and drink in this beauty and give thanks.

I have many lemon trees bearing fruit, passion fruits falling to the ground and red ripe Spanish tomatoes painting the backyard. Each summer, my family gathers in the yard and recite a prayer of blessing on first seeing these fruits with the wild roses racing with anthurium reds and pinks that snuggle against the coffee red and orange berries.. They are a thing to behold.

We look at our plants in a context where we can feel inspired by the glory of God because we feel God’s love for mankind and can give thanks for it.

We give thanks to God for creating trees from which man can take pleasure. The delight of the beauty we see is available to all kinds of people – even the most impoverished person or debased criminal is treated to the same beauty as anyone else, as he traverses the world.

When seeing a tree, which was during the rainy season was withering against the storm and rains, but now in full bloom, we, and even the most hopeless person, can be revitalized. When we watch the transformation of nature, we gain the courage and inspiration to lift us out of our despair and it reminds us that God has given us the tools to revitalize ourselves.

We live in a time when it’s a struggle to keep hope alive. The trees in our neighborhoods, whether fruit-bearing or simply deciduous, reminds us of what and how beautiful the world has been before our stupid so called technologies, started killing most of these. All that is decent in mankind seems to be up against forces so irrational and evil that peace seems to be beyond what any human leader can negotiate.

And yet trees give us a message of hope. They show us how after a period of barren emptiness, there is a stirring of life and a new beginning, how even in the seeming barrenness of the winter of our lives, the process is already in motion which will usher in the flowering of a new season. A God who can bring blossoms to a barren tree can bring an era of redemption.

Our tradition calls us out to the fields, so we can bear witness to the way God loves all mankind, whether we deserve it or not. We give thanks, and perhaps a silent prayer, with a flutter in our hearts full of hope, that an era of redemption will sprout as the barren branches give forth blossoms, and we and our children will live to see an era of peace.

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan wrote for the British Panos News and Features and GEMINI News Service, the Brunei Times, and US Environment News Service. In the Philippines, he wrote for DEPTHNews of the Press Foundation of Asia, Today, the Philippine Post, and Vera Files. A practicing environmentalist, he holds postgraduate degrees in environment resource management and development studies as a European Union (EU) Fellow at University College, Dublin, Ireland. He is currently a Fellow of Echoing Green Foundation of New York City. He now writes for Business Mirror and Eurasia Review.

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