The Healer's Tree (Book)

A Bible-based resource on ecology, peace and justice

Annie Heppenstall

Wild Goose
Pb.160 pag.



The Healer's Tree is a book of 28 short readings and reflections in response to the call back to the garden, back to full relationship with God and all creation. It reflects on the struggle to make sense of living as mortals who are drawn by spiritual aspirations and a desire for God but are also bound to the earth and one another with a need to find real faith-based responses to the ecological and humanitarian dilemmas facing the world. Hearing the call and responding, we see life differently. 'Self ' loses its power, the illusion of isolation ends, for all creation is interconnected. It is not just we who are renewed; all creation depends on our return for its renewal. Suitable for group or individual use, each reflection includes a biblical quotation, a passage of prose, a prayer, questions for reflection, often relating to further biblical passages, and a closing thought. Some reflections are suitable for use as visualisations – an exercise where one person reads while others imagine the scene described in a state of relaxation, or where a person alone imagines the scene after reading it several times. However, the reflections are not written with the expectation that everybody will wish to use them in this way. A selection of the readings can be made around particular themes to form a series for Lent, Advent, Creation Season and other times, or for a retreat on a specific subject. The reflections: 1. Garden of Eden: Home 2. The Tree of Knowledge: Discovering God’s constant support 3. The Tree of Life: Self-giving God 4. The Healer’s Tree: Messenger of God’s grace 5. Kevin and the Otter: Need and greed 6. The Tamarisk Tree: Surviving the desert 7. Silent Witnesses: Humanity in the dock? 8. The Gardener: Our divine commission 9. Sun, Moon and Stars: Finding a way in the dark 10. The Olive Tree: In war and in peace 11. Tree Stumps: Bringing down the mighty 12. The Woodwose: Welcoming our wild side 13. The Cedar Trees: Building for the glory of God? 14. Hazels of Wisdom: What do we seek? 15. St Columbanus and the Bear: Fair shares 16. All that Breathes, Praise the Lord: The whole communion 17. The Green Man and the Three Hares: A common bond 18. Jesus in the Wild Places: Being rooted in prayer 19. St Melangell: Becoming Sanctuary 20. St Aidan: Doing God’s will 21. St Hubert and the Stag: Conversion to gentleness 22. The Lion and the Lamb: Hunter and hunted 23. St Kevin and God’s Mercy: Accepting grace 24. The Forests of Badenoch: Inheritance of the meek 25. The Beast: Empires of the world 26 The Greatest Law: Is our love big enough? 27. Elijah in the Desert: Presence of God 28. Along the Riverbank: Coming home I admire the way Annie Heppenstall has woven together reflections from the Bible, the Celtic tradition and contemporary experience and issues – all done very skilfully, yet with a light touch … Will be of value to many Christians looking for spiritual depth and political cutting edge, and to spiritual questers outwith the Christian tradition who may discover that Christian mystical tradition has much to offer the contemporary socio-political and spiritual quest. Nicola Slee, theologian and poet based at The Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham The time has come to re-imagine Christianity, for the church has become disconnected from the earth. With compelling beauty the storyteller’s whispers and poem prayers evoke a response from deep in our souls. Ray Simpson, Founding Guardian, The International Community of Aidan and Hilda ‘I want to change but don’t know how to!’ was a heartfelt plea I overheard on a train journey. This book understands the nature and need of change, the possibilities for renewal and healing, but above all the imperative for us to be honest with ourselves and our world. Practical, grounded in the Word of God and experience, passionate and wise – be prepared for change as you use this book. The Revd Dr James Woodward, Canon of Windsor