Plants and Trees

This is part 5 of a summer series that is posted each week.

Meditative Reading: In Scripture we hear about the many plants and trees which bear seeds as food for people and creatures. There are many stories of the stark contrast between fruitfulness and barrenness, often related to how people behave. How might your actions contribute (or take away) the earth’s ability to thrive?  


Genesis 1:11-13

Matthew 6:28-30 (lilies of the field)

Luke 13:6-9 (Fig tree)

Luke 13:18-19 (mustard seed)

Spiritual Practice

  • Take time this week to mindfully nurture a houseplant or garden. Instead of rushing through watering or weeding, take a few deep breaths before you begin and work with full awareness of your task. Are the plants thriving? What do they need to live well? How are these requirements similar to what you need to thrive? How do you receive nurturing, especially in stressful times? Out loud, or silently, offer a blessing to this plant (for example, “[name of plant] you are created by God and you are loved by God”).
  • Sit near a tree and spend a few moments taking deep breaths and letting your mind settle. Let your awareness and senses stay mostly with the tree and its parts; what do you see, hear, smell, and feel next to it? As you reflect on the tree, what part of it strikes you especially? Why? What might this tree be trying to communicate to you? What lessons might it teach?
  • Find a plant in your yard or in another outdoor space that you would consider a weed. Spend several moments observing the plant by using all your senses. Notice how it is held in the ground or how it reacts to sunlight. How might this plant reflect God’s original blessing of goodness? What might this plant have to teach you? Have these reflections shifted your feelings about this plant?
  • Go for a walk this week and look for a “mustard seed tree” – a tree that has grown tall and broad and gives shelter to birds and other creatures. In what ways do you also find shelter or care from trees? How do you act as a mustard seed tree for others?
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Erika lives in Kitchener with her husband Cameron and her son Levi. She works as the Spiritual and Student Development Advisor at St. Jerome’s University where she engages in conversations with SJ community members about spirituality, justice, and leadership. Erika loves spending time outside with her family, listening to audiobooks, and cooking new foods

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