My husband is British born of British parents but was adopted to a couple who raised him in Kenya, East Africa. He has always had a fascination with England. My grandparents came from England and so British stories intrigue us. Yesterday I got in the car and happened to turn on the news and heard that the Queen had passed at age 96, the longest reigning monarch in England. I was on the way to the nursing home to visit my husband. We sat in his room with my Ipad perched on his walker and listened to BBC all afternoon and watched the pictures pouring across the airwaves to us. I was deeply impressed at the description of Queen Elizabeth II. Words like consistency, popular, “the rock upon which England was built” were quoted more than once.
Our theme for devotions right now is trees. The words describing the life of the queen and what she meant to her country reminded me of giant trees, perhaps the giant Redwoods of northern California, that I often visited in my youth. I have often joked, if that tree could talk as in The Two Towers, what tales it could tell of the lives that unfolded near it! The giant Redwoods are the tallest trees but the giant Sequoias are the largest trees. They are both cone producing. That made me think of the Cedars of Lebanon often mentioned in the Bible when speaking of trees to build palaces and the Temple. I was surprised to read that the Cedars of Lebanon were considered “the King of Trees.” The Psalmist in Psalm 104 praises God’s work in creation. Psalm 104:14-17 shares,
You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to use,
to bring forth food from the earth,
15 and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine,
and bread to strengthen the human heart.
16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 In them the birds build their nests;
the stork has its home in the fir trees.
The monarchy has provided a consistency, blessed many and been a symbol of England. It will be interesting to hear the eulogies. But for us, I ponder what tree we might consider ourselves. Who has been a tall, strong Cedar in your life providing stability in the face of chaos? Who has been there through the years encouraging your life to grow? Thank God for the people who have been like a grove of Redwoods, Sequoias or Cedars supporting your life and consider what kind of tree or bush you would like people to call you. Blessings as you remember and praise.