Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Oaks and angels

Chagall's depiction of Genesis 18
Surprisingly - a sunny August bank holiday yesterday, and a happy walk in a different direction from usual, among some majestic ancient oak trees. And, as befits the last public holiday before Christmas, several signs of autumn on the way: toadstools, berries and a mass of heavy fat acorns. (Along with all the tempting autumn catalogues in my inbox and on the doormat).

I'm fond of oak trees, and in awe of such old ones as these. I always feel they should be approached and greeted with some kind of reverence. The oak is a symbol of wisdom (befitting its longevity) and of hospitality, because such a variety of life is sustained in and around an oak tree - more than any other kind of tree, I believe. This always makes me think of Abraham's hospitality to the angels of the Lord under the oaks of Mamre (botanists, please don't tell me they were a different type of oak! The connection will do for me.)

During this summer I've had the joy (and nervousness - I'm a high-scoring introvert!) of being welcomed into new fellowship with some like-minded people. Oh, subtle discernment! Am I willing, in gratitude for the hospitality I've been shown, to pay it forward by looking outward and welcoming the next new person to arrive as one sent by God? Or am I secretly hoping that I'll simply go on being entertained as an angel?

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