Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tree of Life

During Meeting for Worship this morning we remembered one of our beloved members who recently passed away.  Louise was a birthright Friend.  The Spirit spoke eloquently through her words and actions, especially during the last few years when her delicate health forced her to become a shut-in. We rarely saw her, but she would send Spirit-filled greetings and messages to us in response to cards and phone calls.

Thanks to one of the Haverford College horticulturalists, we obtained a cutting from the great elm tree of Shackamaxon.  According to tradition, it was under this tree that William Penn signed a Treaty of Amity and Friendship with the native inhabitants of the land.

After silent worship punctuated by inspired readings, we took turns spreading soil around the base of the tree.  Louise's daughter sprinkled some of her mother's ashes, and our First Day School children scattered flower petals and seeds.

 Then our Friendly horticulturalist added supports so the sapling would withstand harsh winds and grow strong and tall.

One of the readings was this touching excerpt from William Penn's More Fruits of Solitude:

  And this is the comfort of the good, that the grave cannot hold them, and that they live as soon as they die. For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. Death, then, being the way and condition of life, we cannot love to live, if we cannot bear to die.
They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.
 Nor can spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle, the root and record of their friendship. If absence be not death, neither is theirs.
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure.
 This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.