One of my favorite books of all time is A Tree Grows in
Brooklyn. I first read it when I was about 10. I totally
identified with the central character, a girl named Francie.
Francie and I were about the same age. We both had handsome and
witty dads who charmed everybody they met but never learned to
cope with reality. And we both had moms who thought they had to
do everything dad didn't or couldn't do and lost themselves in
the process. As the oldest child, Francie had the weight of the
world on her shoulders.
One thing that gave her joy was a tree that grew outside the
window of her Brooklyn tenement. The tree was beautiful, and the
birds who lived there sang her sadness away.
But some of the neighbor women hated that tree because it got
tangled up with the clotheslines that stretched from building to
building. Men came to chop it down and then, just for good
measure, they set fire to the stump. Francie mourned the tree
but endured her hardscrabble life, a life where birds no longer
sang of hope and possibilities.
Spring came at last and with it came little green shoots poking
up from the charred stump. Francie's tree had survived against
all odds. Its roots were so deep and so strong that it was able
to overcome mutilation and fire. Soon it would grow new
branches, where birds would live again, singing sweet songs of
hope and new possibilities.
Faith is like that. It wants to grow. Once roots are
established, the seedling will struggle against all odds to
become a tree. Our Lenten reflections this year are all about
growing our faith - growing from the roots, growing from the
branches, growing in love and hope, growing despite adversity.
This booklet is a wonderful sharing of faith. Thanks to all our
writers, who bared their roots and waved their branches. These
are some of the most heartfelt devotions we have ever shared.
And, as always, I am especially grateful to those who planted
the seeds of this devotional and nourished it to maturity:
Marcia Werts, Mark Yeskie, Lori East, Debbie Stephens and our
pastors Lowell and Kristin.
Devotional team leader