Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wood Hath Hope

Oak Stump has New Shoots of Life


Back in the 1970's, John Foley, S.J., of the St. Louis Jesuits, published a song called "Wood Hath Hope. " The goal of the St Louis Jesuits was to provide melodic worship music that was easy for people to sing. The chorus of this song goes like this:

Wood hath hope.
When it's cut, it grows green again,
 _and it's boughs sprout clean again.
Wood hath hope.
     (Wood Hath Hope Songbook, North American Liturgy Resources, 1978, p. 40)



The song speaks of the tree that's been cut down to a stump. It looks dead, but, like the tree above, it revives. New branches full of leaves, as you see coming from this oak stump here in Templeton, California, grow again. The tree may not have the same form as it had before, but it's still alive and growing. The growth of this tree continues, in spite of the barbed wire you can see cutting into it.

The second stanza of the song tells us that we humans are in a state of waiting for death to strip our souls and end our lives and that "mortal life's like a dried up river bed" and that we "sleep to rise no more."

Salinas River During the Dry Season in June
The the song writer introduces the thought that "if a man could rise again" and be taken by God to a loving land, people could have hope. That's what Jesus did. He rose from the dead after his crucifixion, conquering death forever.


Even the dry riverbed won't stay dry forever. God sends the rain to revive it. This is the same spot after a season of more rain than usual.

Same Tree You Saw Above at Same Spot After the Rains