Do the trees of the forest need to hear words of praise to be vibrant? Studies have been done to determine the influence of human interaction on house plants. The evidence is quite overwhelming. Plants grow bigger and become healthier when someone speaks words of praise to them. Looking over the glorious fall colors made me wonder, would studies reveal the same thing about the forest?
There was something different about the woods we walked through yesterday. The forest floor seemed dead. There were dead things in the forest on the previous days hike. However, it seemed like something beautiful was growing out of every dead thing. Yesterday, the forest floor was rotting and nothing new was emerging from the rot. It’s hard to put into words, but the forest seemed somehow neglected. Maybe it was the byproduct of the massive logging business which dominated those woods for decades.
The forest invited me to think about our own need for words of praise. Kind words immediately fill the soul with a sense of joy, purpose and value. In the same fashion, negative words destroy. The difficulty is we often retain the negative words and forget the kind ones. As a result, we find ourselves questioning our value.
This morning’s reading from Luke is strange. It starts out with a warning about hell, but ends with tender and kind words. Jesus tells us to not be afraid because we have great value. Our value is not make believe. It comes from God who knows our gifts and faults better than anyone. We are known so well that God can count every hair on the top of our heads.
The one who knows us values us. How will we ever understand this if avoid listening to God? I write these daily reflections to help us listen to God’s words of praise. Because, like house plants, we grow stronger and healthier with kind words. (Lk 12:1-7)