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Tree of Life

By Jasmine, SSJD Companion

Music tradition in the SSJD community is heavily involved in our worship, especially in the Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline. The use of worship music is diverse which includes monastic traditional chant, Anglican chant and hymns, compositions written by contemporary composers including our sisters, and other contemporary worship praise songs. Our music and liturgy also go with our church calendar, reflecting the Christian season.

When I was asked to write a reflection on my experience of Lenten hymn, I immediately thought of our Lenten “theme song” in the Anglican Church in Canada, Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery.

Tree of Life and awesome mystery,

in your death we are reborn;

Though you die in all of history,

still you rise with every morn,

Still you rise with every morn.

This hymn was written by Marty Haugen, a liturgical composer for both Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations. The lyrics of the hymn provide images for the reflection on our Lenten journey.

  In my therapy practice, the tree of life is a popular tool in telling ones’ story. There is a symbolic meaning with every feature on your tree: your background, skills, gifts, relationships etc. There are also a lot of choices that we can make to create a new part for our tree of life.

During the Lenten season, the passion story of Jesus Christ is retold over and over, of how he lived out his life of obedience and humility. What does it mean that Jesus chose this way of living? This narrow path of compassion and self-sacrifice does not seem to fit into the world we are living in when human beings have the tendency to think about themselves most of the time, not to mention being proud or self-pitying.

“Come, follow me”

  The calling is there already. Am I ready to take up my own cross and follow Jesus? Personally, I felt that most of the time I just took my cross up and threw it away the next second. But there is also hope within this human experience through Jesus’ death and resurrection: I know that I am His beloved child. This is the choice I have to make moment by moment: how can I choose life in Jesus’ way? It might be just gentle words and smiles to people we encounter in the daily living. It can be a short prayer and meditation to ground myself in God, and intercessions for people who are anxious and in pain during the pandemic.

  What can help you in connecting with our ultimate tree of life Jesus Christ today and create the story? What does your new seed and tree of life looks like?

Please click below to listen to Jasmine’s Musical Reflection on the Tree of Life. Enjoy!