This prayer was written by Michelle and read by her during the service of Celebration for the Oak:
We gather today with a psalm of thanks and praise for the life of this Great White Oak. Though one day soon its physical body will be gone, it gifts a legacy of wisdom to us all.
This Great Tree emerged from a seed within an acorn, something small enough to be held within a child’s palm.
Let us hold each beginning, no matter how small or seemingly impossible, with great care and wonder, knowing that with each planting is the hope for something beautiful to emerge from hidden places.
The roots of this tree grow deep through the earth, anchoring the trunk to its origin, receiving nourishment from where it exists.
Let us also take root in the good soil of faith, family and community that we too may flourish, thriving wherever we are placed.
The branches of this tree stretch far and high, providing shelter and life for animals, birds and insects, shade for our skin and oxygen for our lungs released back into the air.
Let us reach as far and wide to our neighbors, to welcome them in when they have need and welcome them home when they return, and to fellowship with them in times of lament, rejoicing and rest.
The tree has decorated our landscape through countless seasons.
Bare and twisted branches wildly flail through winter storms, or sweetly collect snowflakes as they drift to the ground;
Tender shoots energize us in springtime renewal;
Jewel-tones rustle on warm summer evenings;
And yellows, reds and oranges pop and float like confetti over our heads in the autumn.
Let us acknowledge the need for beauty in our world, and to be bearers of beauty with our thoughts, hearts and hands.
This tree connects us through the generations to our history.
Let us remember that we each have a role, in great observable acts and in secret, quiet connections, in the stories that are woven through us.
But God, we also see that no matter how long it lasts, life here on earth is limited by the Great Mystery You place within us from the moment You create us.
While the life of this Great Tree has come to a close, in this time of great dividing lines, of violence and suffering, the symbol of the life of this tree unites us to witness an ancient Truth, a truth that points us both to an origin and something eternal, a force that is greater than our present circumstances.