Reflection from Katherine Bitzer
at the AGM on Sunday February 10th, 2019
Board Chair, Katherine Bitzer highlighted a number of key events from 2018 (all found within the Annual Report), and then offered the following reflection. On the screen was an image of a small seedling growing from the middle of an old tree stump.
When you look at the image on the screen, what do you see? Do you see an old, dead tree stump or do you see the promise of new life?
In the midst of my reflections on 2018, I came across an article I had cut out of the paper a couple of years ago. Written by a Rev. Micah Smith, he reminds us that if we look to the natural world, God's world, free from human planning and control stumps play a crucial role in ensuring rebirth and renewal. Paraphrasing Rev. Smith:
In any healthy forest environment, you will find what are known as nursery stumps. To the untrained eye, they can appear rotting or dead, but not so. The remains of the original tree that fell to the ground, in reality, is thriving. It is busy giving life to a new generation of trees through the provision of fertile soil and a protected growing environment.
For those who would prefer that this reflection shift out of the forest and into the Bible, we move to the Book of Isaiah, chapter 11, verse 1: "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit". A familiar passage to most I assume. In Rev. Smith's words:
What a picture of hope for Israel and for us...the prophet Isaiah doesn't describe the shoot springing up out of a carefully prepared, plowed and furrowed field, but rather out of the pain of loss. In the place where it seems as though life's circumstances have sheared off our hope for the future...amazingly that is where the shoot grows best.
When I look at this image I see the numerous rings on the stump - a testament to the years the tree had stood tall. Most importantly, I see a relationship that exists perfectly in God's world...whereby a nursery stump is now fulfilling its very purpose and promise: to provide a sunny, nutrient-rich and protected growing environment for the next generation that one day will stand just as tall.