St. Francis’ Day

by Christine Sine

Tomorrow is St Francis Day, a day that many of us associate with with blessing of the animals. Francis grew up in a wealthy family but abandoned this life and embraced poverty and service.  He gave away his worldly possessions, embraced lepers, welcomed women and walked a path that most of us would find impossible. St Francis believed that nature itself was the mirror of God. He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters”, and even preached to the birds and supposedly persuaded a wolf to stop attacking some locals if they agreed to feed the wolf. Francis’s goal was to imitate the life, and carry out the work of Christ in all he did. Ironically the prayers he is best known for Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace  and Let Nothing Disturb Us, were not actually written by him, though they express some of the sentiments that we associate with his life.

I suspect that it wasn’t just the animals but in fact all of creation that St Francis embraced a fact that I was reminded of as I grieved the cutting down of the famous 300 year old sycamore tree at Sycamore Gap in Northumbria in the UK last week. This senseless act of vandalism reminded me of the wonder of trees and the blessing they are to all our lives. They are worthy of our respect and reverence, an emotion that stirred me to write a poem which I published over the weekend as an instagram reel. I have since posted it on YouTube.

In my Meditation Monday: Think of the Second Life I reflect on how much of nature is given a second life when it is processed, or composted. What about our lives? So much of what has gone before is given a second life by God. It is wonderful to realize this and give thanks.

We have had another very rich and varied week on Godspace. Elaine Breckenridge delighted us all with her Ritual to Welcome Autumn which as someone commented could as easily be used for spring in the Southern hemisphere too. This was followed by Karen Wilk’s beautiful poem Creator Delights In and Lilly’s Freerange Friday: Harvest New Wine in which she talks about how wine producers will cut off good fruit in order to provide the best fruit for wine making. On Saturday Rodney Marsh from Western Australia blessed us with his reflection on Walking and Silence.

Don’t forget too that it is time to sign up for the Season of Gratitude Retreat. I cannot emphasize enough how important I feel gratitude is or how concerned I am at how infrequently we express our gratitude. My gratitude practice has changed my life. It is one of the things that inspires me to write poems and put together the mediation videos that I post on instagram and YouTube, so I thought you might also enjoy the words to my latest meditation.

I am awed by the beauty of trees,
Especially the old ones,
Their trunks gnarled and twisted by time.
I love the way their leaves rustle in the wind,
As a for the sheer joy of life.
How connected they are beneath the ground,
Reaching out with filaments
so fine we cannot see them.
Nourishing each other, protecting, sending out alarms.
Do they gossip like old friends?
Sharing stories of all they have seen.
Do they comfort the lonely?
Show love to the young?
Do they feel the pain,
When all around is cut down,
and their sisters and brothers destroyed?
Do they smile when we sit in the shade,
and refresh ourselves on a hot summers day?
So many stories they could tell.
So much they could teach us.
I thank God for the beauty of trees.

Many blessings

Christine Sine

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