Here in the north - eastern United States we have had a brutal winter. Snow storm after snow storm has dumped several feet of snow on our towns, coloring everthing with a cold blanket of winter white. The other day when I was shoveling the latest accumulation, I stopped for a minute to take a well earned rest. As I was standing there admiring the pristine coating of snow that had painted a large old oak tree, I got to thinking..... Our religion is a little bit like this now dormant tree. It has been ravaged by time (1000 years ), and the elements ( monotheism ), but it has withstood the trials and tribulations ( torture and forced conversions ), that have been put before it. It stands there, not what it once was, but still proud, strong and resilient. Until the 1970's this was how our religion stood.
The roots, of this great pillar of nature, run deep and holds the tree firmly in place ( the way the roots of Yggdrasil support the nine worlds), through winds and storms. The great roots of strength of our religion are our Gods and Goddesses, and of course our ancestors. These two "roots" have held us, and our religion, together for 1000 years.
As I continued to look at this regal oak I started to think how soon the sun's warmth will increase, Mother Earth will soften, and buds will form on its branches once again. Then this tree will bloom into full foliage and the growing cycle will begin anew. In the 1980's and the 1990's our religion started to sprout from years of being dormant, and grew into something much bigger and stronger.
As this tree grows through the spring and into summer months it will branch out in new directions and become bigger and stronger, with each new leaf adding to the overall strength and beauty of the old oak. Our religion in the past 20 years has done the same. We have branched out into new denominations and added many new members who have made us much stronger than we have ever been before. Yes, this gnarly old oak tree is almost a perfect representation of our religions recent history. Too bad it isn't an ash tree . That would have made the comparison perfect !
As I looked away from the tree, I saw that I still had a lot of work to do removing the snow from my driveway. Just as we still have a lot of work to do rebuilding our religion. I took a deep breath and went back to my shoveling.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !