by Rev. Reingard Knausenberge
For the past 30 years I have been noticing a tree which began to grow on a large rock inconveniently situated alongside a busy two-lane road linking two major traffic arteries in Rivonia, Johannesburg. During the lock-down in April I finally saw my chance to take a photo of it. I could stand in the middle of the road and take my time really visiting this astounding tree. As a young vulnerable sapling it survived our long dry winters and also some dry summers. The tree was once even chopped down, –but see how it has grown again in full strength. The root has split the rock and who knows how deep it reaches. The possibility to grow up again lay in its roots. Whenever I mention this tree, everyone always knows it! It hasn’t physically moved from its spot, but it has moved many hearts.
Especially now in this time of a world being thrown into uncertainty and confusion, the resilience and steadfastness of this tree has struck me as a visionary image. What if we could do that, accept: here I am, this is my place, this is where destiny unfolds for me, and I send down my roots right here. My whole life has a focus: to be present, here where I am, now. This is what I was born for. I am in the right place at the right time. No matter what the resistances, I can adjust and strengthen my presence. What anchors me in the depth of my being is what matters to keep on growing. This is commitment. This is active faith.
This is a ‘tree message’ also to us as community, here in Johannesburg. Our congregation is deeply alive and rooted, even if what is above ground can look weak and vulnerable. Now is the time to ignite our spiritual potential anew and awaken more deeply – and connect to the power of the Christ-Life we are anchored in, to this deep-rooted healing power of the sacraments which give meaning, direction and energy to deal with adverse circumstances; to be aware of the exponential ability to magnify this power through the common inner focus of being part of a greater community, from local, to region, to continent, to world embrace.
This is what a tree does: it grows from the core upward and outward by strengthening its roots. We can do that, too, as a conscious community celebrating the Act of Consecration of Man. This is how we will grow as a congregation. This is our task now, in the right place at the right time in this city which needs our presence.
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