“Ancient woodland has a high value” read the information board in the Devil’s Punch-bowl of forest and fields in Hindhead, Surrey. I pondered the statement as I was walking and reading another ancient article with high value; my Bible. Lynn DeShazo puts it brilliantly “Holy words long preserved, for our walk in this world…”
Leafing through the wisdom-rich pages of God’s word is like treading the long-trodden trail between these tree-trunks that have stood here for centuries like nature’s holy sentries.
Pillars of strength, life, growth and knowledge; providing shade and shelter for even the most insignificant of invertebrates. I ramble on through gorse and bramble, crunching twigs under my toes and kicking-up leaves like a miniature autumn firework display at my feet. The trees here are over 400 years old. Decade upon decade of seasonal change, sun, wind, storm and rain. The wear and tear of weather patterns etched with texture into bark and branch, like wrinkles wrought on the clock-face of time itself.
Back to the info-board, and another sentence catches my eye;
“dead wood will be left standing, and natural regeneration allowed to occur”
A perfect summary of the sanctification that occurs in the lives of the sons and daughters of God, saved from their sin by the giver of grace.
This redemptive rhythm is re-born in me every time I open the Holy Book. Ancient pages of life shine the Creator’s light into areas of darkness within me that need to die.
The decaying wood of my soul is shed from the branches of my being, dropping to the forest floor of my life’s journey through prayer and repentance. The regeneration of my inner-life continues; new growth springing up from within, replacing that which was in decay and is no more.
As far back in time as these ancient braches reach, the most ancient Word reaches further. There is high value in these old trees, but the highest value of all is reserved for the One from whom all life comes forth and is breathed into being by grace.
Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
Oh, let the ancient words impart.
Lyrics from‘Ancient Words’ by Lynn DeShazo