Can a tree sing? Can a tree clap?


Sometimes when my eyes grow bleary from looking at a computer screen or reading little print in a book, my gaze drifts to my open office door. From my desk, I can look through the hallway window and see past the parking lot.


Look past the coffee and the floral sofa…

Just on the edge of the parking lot is a small tree, perfectly framed by the window. When the breeze hits the tree, it sways side to side in a graceful dance. When the wind is particularly strong, the tree nearly bends over, as though bowing.

The sight of the small, joyful tree brings to mind part of Psalm 96:12: “Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD”

and also Isaiah 55:12: “… and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

Can a tree sing? Can a tree clap? Does a tree even have hands? The imagery is powerful and poetic.

Like trying to understand the personification of a tree, the joy of knowing God’s salvation and deliverance can be difficult to explain. Rejoicing can be challenging in the midst of the trouble we face as we continue in the reality of a fallen world with broken relationships and the consequences of sin. We see glimpses of God’s glory in this world, but we remain fully aware that all is not right.

20160823_151646Sometimes the wind is not gentle to the tree branches. Instead of a dance, this young tree looks more like a prize fighter, swerving and ducking when faced with the wind’s persistent blows. The tree still stands, somehow weathering the storms that have brought down other branches in and around the parking lot.

When your eyes grow weary from whatever work lies before you, I pray you might be able to divert your gaze and look to a different part of God’s creation. May we seek rest in God’s promise of salvation and deliverance. May we see a bigger picture as we await the day when the trees of the forest will sing for joy at the return of Christ.

About SaraBSutter

I serve as the pastor of United Presbyterian Church in Goldfield, Iowa. My husband Steve and I are excited to be in a friendly small town and look forward to the years ahead. In addition to nerdy church stuff, I love reading books, writing, good coffee, cats, and football.

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