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The Tree of Life

Dear Cathedral Family,

As we continue to emerge into new life together post-pandemic, we continue to discover changes and new perspectives that show us how the old passes away in order for something new to be revealed. Perhaps some of your old habits and preferences have simply been left behind; or, you may be discovering changes around you that you did not expect. This discovery may disappoint you, and it may also be a surprisingly welcome change. Either way, change is often uncomfortable. In our God-filled world, God’s kingdom is always somehow present within the change, although we may not understand how.

In our gospel reading this Sunday, Jesus teaches his followers about the mystery of the kingdom of God through parables, “as they were able to hear it.” His image is the seed, hidden in the ground, bearing little resemblance to the plants that emerge. The smallest of seeds may yield the greatest of shrubs and trees, stretching to heaven above and reaching deep into the unseen layers of earth, giving shelter and food and breathable air to other creatures.

The deepest mystery and greatest irony of all is that the truly life-giving tree is the cross. Christ elsewhere describes himself as the seed that will fall into the ground and die in order to give eternal life—sheltering home in God, the life-growing bread of heaven, the gift of the divine breath of the Spirit. The cross is the true Tree of Life to which Jesus’ image of the “greatest of all the shrubs” refers.

We believe, as we pray, that life on earth may be as it is in heaven. Because of this, we look for the kingdom of God breaking through the ground here in our lives, even as we believe it will be fully realized on the last day.

We do not always know the seeds of the kingdom life; they are hidden out of sight. Then, one day, we see them growing.

In our results-oriented world, the time and patience needed for such mysterious and sometimes-slow growth is hard to come by. Consider this gospel question this week: after this long season of dormancy in life together, how are you seeing new growth and change emerging in your life?

May you know God’s peace,



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