Ezekiel 17:22-24 (NRSV)
Verse 22Thus says the Lord God: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. Verse 23On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it, in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live; in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind. Verse 24All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord. I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it.
Of the towering trees that surrounded my childhood home in the Pacific Northwest, the cedars were my favorite. Their fragrance incredible, their branches soft and always green, they gave shelter and were the best climbing trees around. Ezekiel’s image of the lofty cedar that provides a nesting place for winged creatures of every kind reminds me of the safe shelter I felt in that home nestled under the branches of a cedar tree. So too, it reminds us of the safe shelter that God provides for all God’s creatures—in lofty cedar trees and burrowed beneath the ground, in grand homes and tiny houses—shelter from the storms that rage within and without, shelter for our bodies and for our spirits too.
For the shelter that you provide, O God, we give you thanks this day. May we feel its strength and its warmth and know from whence it came. Amen.