Mothers’ Union Lent Devotion for the Fifth Week of Lent 30th March 2022

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5. 14-16.

Over the past few days, I have noticed a sudden change in the trees surrounding our vicarage. What were bare branches just a week ago are now covered in buds and/or newly emerging leaves. New growth that is possible because of the inner structure of the wood. The wood of a tree far from being a lifeless material is a network of passages and conduits which bring water and nutrients from the soil up into the branches, giving life to leaves, blossom and eventually the precious seed containing fruit which ensures the tree’s legacy.

When a tree is standing tall, fulfilling its life-giving purpose, the beauty of the wood which forms its tall solid trunk is normally hidden. Our eyes are drawn to the top, to the leaves, blossom, fruit and seeds. Generally, we need to wait until a tree dies or is felled before we can truly appreciate its inner beauty. And what beauty it contains. A slice through a tree trunk is like a history book, the rings are different widths as a result of the conditions the tree has experienced in any particular year.

Depending on how the wood is carved we see these rings in different ways – as circles, as lines, as slices but always as dynamic patterns. A reflection of the varied life lived rather than some ideal geometric pattern. The wood when polished becomes smooth and warm to the touch, its inner beauty revealed by the hands of the wood worker.

If we turn to think about ourselves, we realise that we too have an inner self that has been shaped by all that we have experienced in life. Sometimes like the trees we have knots where we have been damaged and sometimes, we have areas of abundant growth where life has filled us with joy. We need to let God polish, mould and craft us so that our inner beauty shines forth for all to see. Let the master carpenter transform us into people whose generosity brings glory to God and gladness into the lives of those with whom we share this beautiful, created earth.

With all my love and prayers for a continuing peaceful and holy Lent.

Revd Sandra