Easter Day Tree-Planting Eucharist at the Clay Pit

Today for Easter we wanted to do something a bit different: we wanted to celebrate the cosmic and ecological significance of Easter, as well as its meaning for us as children of God. No mean feat for a group of sleepy/grumpy folks getting up before dawn!

Gathering 15 minutes before the official sunrise at 6.30, we made our way down to the Clay Pit in Possilpark – a piece of God’s earth that we care for in our local community which has amazing views east and west over Glasgow and has the potential to become an inner-city nature reserve. We then shared in our first ever tree-planting Eucharist, which we had developed on the back of inspiration from our brothers and sisters African Pentecostal Churches in Zimbabwe.

The Eucharist focuses on the connection between Christ and the imagery of the Tree of Life in the Bible: Adam and Eve had lost its sustenance after Eden, Christ was “hung on a tree” when he was crucified, and there will be a Tree of Life whose leaves will be used for the healing of the nations in the coming new creation. In John 3:16, when it says so famously “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” the Greek word for world is “cosmos” – the entire created order. God wants to resurrect the whole of creation (us included)! It is for this and no less than this that we cry on Easter Sunday “Christ is risen!” and reply “he is risen indeed!”

We recited Psalm 24 as a call-and-response, declaring the “earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”, sang the Delirious Song “Awaken the Dawn” as the sun rose in the East (“God of creation we praise you!”), and planted a tree in the somewhat stony soil of “Jack’s Mountain” as we looked out over the city. The tree, for us, became a symbol of our hope in the coming renewal of creation. We remembered God’s healing of the land of the city of Jericho through Elisha in 2 Kings 2 (“Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive”), which had so much resonance for our community in the damage that it’s land has experienced from the industrial revolution. We also remembered that Christ’s blood dripped on the earth itself under the cross on Calvary, and sang of how it atoned for the brokenness of the whole of creation “at the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree.” We offered up prayers of repentance for our sins against creation, man and God, took communion to the words of Colossians 1 (reading “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” as we ate the bread and “through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” as we drank the wine).

Finally, we used Romans 8:18-23 as a benediction and encouragement to go and be part of God’s healing of creation – “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” We finished by picking up old rubbish, bottles and litter from the area we had done the service – wee Andrew found an empty bottle of Budweiser to take to the dump!

It all ended with a bacon-butty picnic at the back of 7am near our friend James’ doocot, listening to the bird-calls with Westercommon High-rise in the background. Cameron’s (7) judgement? “One of the bestest church events we have had!” You can download a copy of the Eucharist here.  Or in booklet-format here (the booklet version needs to have the settings changed to A4 as you print from pdf). Just right-click on the pdf. to download from Box.net.

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4 Responses to Easter Day Tree-Planting Eucharist at the Clay Pit

  1. paul.ede says:

    Interestingly, John Drane of “McDonalisation of the Church” fame just put a post on Facebook saying “wondering why the meaning of Easter for so many Christians appears to be limited to what it means for them individually and personally with apparently no cosmic, environmental, social, cultural significance.” Which is an interesting coincidence…must be ahead of the curve…

  2. paul.ede says:

    In other news, I was interested that Paul in 1 Corinthians used Psalm 24:1 (“earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”) to justify Christians eating any meat they like at the meat-market, as long as its not “sacrificed to idols”. So the same verse underpinned not only our celebration of the coming resurrection of all creation, but also our eating of bacon-butties afterwards!

  3. Olive Fleming Drane says:

    Love it Paul! Will be in touch – John and I are teaching a course at ICC this autumn on Sacrament! 🙂

  4. Patricia Macindoe says:

    loving your celebration!

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