Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Peel It Away

Ash Wednesday today over here. And it’s fun how a new place provides all new images to consider. Australia has a large tree known as the gum tree, part of a family of trees, the eucalyptus, which are found literally all over the continent. (According to Wikipedia, no continent is as characterized by a single genus of tree as Australia is by the eucalyptus.)

What’s notable about the gum tree is that every summer it loses all of its bark. All of it. Most trees need the bark to protect the tree. Remove it and the tree might easily die. But not the gum tree.

And it strikes me that somewhere in there might be a cool image to go into Lent with. We develop these outer coats – but this Lent what do we need to strip away? Where do we need to be a little more vulnerable? What needs to be laid bare?

You’ve had plenty of preaching from me the last few days. More fun soon.

PS If you’re wondering, as I was, we don’t get bubble gum from gum trees. The name is apparently a reference from the tons of sap these trees release from cuts in their bark. Bubble gum is made from sugar, corn syrup and a bunch of other things (including in many cases rubber…yum).

(By the way, today is also Chinese New Year, the beginning of a 15 day celebration for Chinese people around the world. A bunch of us are going to a big new year's day parade in Sydney Sunday. I'll post pictures then.)