Lent Reflection

1st April 2022


The elder tree – sambucus niger – is often more a bush than a tree. It can grow to a height of 15m and has a life span of some 20 years. Its flowers provide nectar for many insects, its leaves food for caterpillars, and its fruit food for birds and small mammals. The flowers are fragrant and used to flavour cordials, whilst the fruit which is rich in vitamin C can be used for jellies, fruits pies, cordials and wine making. 

The elder’s name may come from the Anglo Saxon “aeld” meaning fire. Its hollow stems were used to blow air into the heart of a fire to kindle it. The soft wood is easy to  whittle. 

They said to one another, ‘We’re not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he opened the scriptures to us?’ Luke 24:32

Contemplation is nothing else but a secret, peaceful and loving infusion of God, which, if admitted, will set the soul on fire with the Spirit of love.’ John of the Cross

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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