From God's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace
Lectio Divina: “tree”

Lectio Divina: “tree”

Gospel reading: Matthew 7.15-20

‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.’


How much our understanding of trees has changed! And how differently might Jesus tell this parable today!

For those thorns and thistles he calls ‘bad fruit’ are part of the ecosystem. They might support the vines and figs in ways that first century Jews would not have known about – underground networks, water retention, defence against disease and parasites, support for pollinators, etc. Trees are amazing organisms supporting and supported by a multitude of others.

Perhaps this parable told today would be of trees planted in the wrong place. Say monoculture plantations of pine or eucalyptus that are susceptible to bark beetle, storm damage and fire, that acidify or poison the soil around them, that do not allow enough sun through to allow other plants to survive among them. Or a ‘ceremonial’ tree planted in lonely isolation, far from its fellows that would support it in its early growth and help it to thrive.

What does it mean then for each of us to be a good tree in the right place? Sinking our roots into the humus, connecting to mycelial fungi supplying water and food and warnings to other nearby trees and being fed by them in turn when we need it. To be content in being a tree, stable, patient, not trying to grow too fast and ‘burning out’, but steadfastly putting on an extra ring each year, producing and scattering seed, opening our leaves to the sun.

For myself, what is a good balance between solitude and connection? Not all connections are obvious and above ground. Many are hidden in the depths of prayer and contemplation, and there is connection even in solitude. Tapping my roots deep into the rich earth, upturning my greenness to the midsummer sun, this is a good place and a nourishing solitude and can be a source of nourishment for others too.


Since April 2020, I have been jointly hosting a shared Lectio Divina group on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. These are my reflections only, during the prayer session and as I wrote them up. Please see my separate commentary and leaflet for more information about shared Lectio.