Lynda Toews is the talented artist in residence at my church. During the months of January and February, her beautiful paintings will be adding an element of visual wonder to our series of online worship services on the theme of trees.
Did you know that there is a yellow cedar tree in British Columbia that is 1835 years old? It is Canada’s oldest tree. Indeed trees are the oldest living things on earth. “As the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people” Isaiah 65:22.
Trees give us a good idea of where our short life spans fit into the vast scale of time. Trees grow slowly and remind us of what we can accomplish when we have patience and perseverance. Trees also are a prime example of what great things God makes from a very small seed or pinecone.
The title of this painting Trees Clapping makes reference to the Scripture passage in Isaiah 55:12. “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills, shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
Lynda went out to photograph trees in her neighbourhood to use as models for this piece. She wanted the trees to have riotous colour and energy and show movement. We may not think of trees as being emotional like humans but poets have often given them human qualities. Think of Joyce Kilmer’s famous poem where the trees lift their leafy arms to pray.
Trees can remind us how important it is to express and share our emotions as we worship and work together.
Lynda illustrates the relationship between trees in Moonlight Sonata. Look at how the two trees are bent towards each other and how their roots intertwine.
Scientists tell us trees share food with one another. By working together trees create an ecosystem that moderates the temperature and stores water. If you look at the forest canopy you can see that trees respect one another’s space leaving openings between their crowns.
Trees even communicate through electronic impulses that emanate from their root tips. Studies show that one tree can be connected to as many as 50 others in this way. Their communication helps them grow in healthy and safe ways.
The communication and community found in trees can be an example to humans as we strive to communicate and live together in community.
The Bible tells us we are to be like trees planted by streams of water bearing fruit. Psalm 1:3
- The tree paintings in this post are all by Lynda Toews. You can see more of her work here and here.
- The ideas in this blog post come from essays and other documents Lynda prepared in conjunction with her visual pieces.
- I have used her artwork and her ideas with her permission.