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The Healer’s Tree: A Bible based resource on ecology, peace and justice

Annie Heppenstall

The Healer’s Tree:

A Bible-based resource on ecology, peace and justice

ISBN 9781 8495 2077 5

Wild Goose Publications, 2011, pp157, £11.50

 This book came into my hands at the beginning of Advent and I was able to experience it, as it was designed to be used, as readings over 28 days.  It is not, however, focused on any particular season of the year, natural or liturgical.

Each day has a title, the first, “Garden of Eden” and the last “Along the riverbank” … from Genesis to Revelation.  Between these are natural features: trees, cedar, tamarisk, and  biblical symbols: the tree of life, and a series of saints, mostly from these islands, and their stories.  Each suggests to the author an aspect of our faith and our relationship to the world.  For instance, “The Green Man and the three hares: a common bond” starts with a passage from the Book of Tobit, ‘many nations shall come to you from far away’, and then Anne traces these age old symbols, found not just in our churches carved on bosses, but the green man to an Indian Jain temple and the hares to a Buddhist one in China.  She points us to “creation… being a vibrant temple to the living God”, and starts her following prayer poem, “Limitless God, give me confidence to look for you everywhere…”

On the title page for each day is a line drawing by the author, and at the end suggestions for further reflection, often pointing to Bible passages for reading and meditation.  The way each day is laid out, helps us to stand back from our busy lives, to make space for considering from a distance the troubles of the world, the questions we have about our relationship to God and others, and how we might go forward relying on God’s grace.  Also it encourages us to look with fresh eyes at the world around us and at pictorial symbols we find in biblical passages.  It could be a good book to have at hand both for those times of peace and stillness, and also as an antidote in those times of busyness when we find ourselves sucked in to the whirlpool of life.

Caroline Ugbo TSSF