The Gift of Trees – Healthy Trees, Healthy People, Healthy Faith, Wk. 2

The Gift of Trees – Healthy Trees, Healthy People, Healthy Faith, Wk. 2 June 13, 2018

This 8-week interfaith devotional has been designed to encourage and uplift you as you connect your faith with your love of nature.  The devotional is part of the Healthy Trees, Healthy People, Healthy Faith study in Lexington, Kentucky, which you can read about here.  But you can use this devotional wherever you are in the world that you can find some trees! This week’s devotional focuses on the gift of trees.

If you missed Week One, click here: Healthy Trees, Healthy People, Healthy Faith: Devotional, Wk. 1

Trees at Kirklevington Park, Lexington, KY. Photo credit: Leah D. Schade. All rights reserved.


“Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees.” (Revelation 7:3)


Matthew Sleeth writes this about the gift of trees:  “I’ve come to understand that one of the most important reasons God chose trees is that at every stage of their lives, trees give. Yet some thirty-six football fields worth of forest are cut down worldwide every minute. Less than half are replanted.

“There are trees virtually every place that humans live on this planet.  Pondering this will quickly lead you to the understanding that life is a gift. The earth is a gift. Trees are a special gift.  Having plenty of trees on earth a hundred years from now is in everyone’s best interest.   Acting in a way that demonstrates respect for God’s Word while bolstering the faith of our children is a win-win-win situation—something that God, future generations, and every living thing on earth can celebrate together.”

Questions to ponder:

  1. What are some of your childhood memories of trees? Did you have a special tree, a favorite one?  What did you love about it?
  2. Do you have a memory of a tree or a stand of trees being cut down that caused sadness for you? What kind of tree was it?  Why was it cut down?  Could you plant another tree today in memory of this lost tree?


Divine Creator, we love your gift of trees – their roots that stabilize the soil, their branches and leaves that provide us shade, their fruit and seeds that give nourishment.  We mourn the loss the trees that have been dear to us.  Help us to advocate for protecting the trees of this planet. Amen.

[Read Week Three’s devotional here.]

[If you want to receive the full 8-week devotional via email, contact me at]

Thanks to  Matthew Sleeth, author of the forthcoming book Reforesting Faith, for the reflection in this week’s devotional. Visit for more information.

Leah D. Schade is the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary (Kentucky) and author of the book Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015). She is an ordained minister in the Lutheran Church (ELCA).

Twitter: @LeahSchade


See also:

The Sacredness of Trees: Healthy Trees, Healthy People, Healthy Faith, Wk. 3

Cedar Trees and Mustard Seeds: The Bible’s Arboretum

Spreading the Gospel of Trees: Healthy Trees, Healthy People, Healthy Faith

Healthy Trees, Healthy People: Why Citizen Scientists are Needed as Climate Changes

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