It's a cold, cold Friday here in New York City, but no matter how cold it may be, it is not as cold as some people's hearts. I am an angry person this morning. Anger is not one of my favorite emotions....especially around holiday time, but some acts are just so inexcusable that there is no other way to react. Here we are, in the holiday season, a season of peace, love, and joy, and evil decides to rear its ugly head. When I first read the news yesterday that some troubled person or persons had chopped down the Holy Thorn tree on Wearyall Hill, I was at first numbed. It couldn't be true. Why would someone do such a horrible thing? What did they gain from it? Notoriety? I think not. The outpouring of grief over this vile act is so great that they had best remain anonymous. The sacred tree held a very special significance all over the world, and thousands came especially to see it.
According to Christian legend, Jesus's great uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, came to Britain after the crucifixion some 2,000 years ago bearing the Holy Grail - the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper. Upon his arrival at Wearyall Hill, he and his twelve companions lay down to rest, and as he did so, he thrust his staff into the hill....and, to his surprise, when he awoke, the staff had taken root and a thorn tree had begun to grow. It flowers every Christmas and every spring.
It is said that the original thorn was felled at some point during the English Civil War when the forces led by Cromwell waged a battle against the Crown. However, the locals managed to salvage the roots of the original tree and hid them in secret locations around Glastonbury. Later, the roots were replanted on the hill. Other cuttings were also grown and placed around the town - including its famous Glastonbury Abbey....and now the tree is gone....the victim of a mindless act...an evil act.
Evil is more than just the opposite of good. Evil is the desire to do something that you know is harmful to another. It is the desire to deprive another of happiness, and this act of destruction has hurt many. Evil is the conscious choice to do something that is hurtful to others, but how does one make such a choice? I cannot fathom how one could destroy such a treasure...just for the sake of destruction.
I remember asking the question, Why does there have to be such evil in the world? and the response I received was, "Without evil, there can be no good." In other words, without darkness there can be no light. Then, I read that if everything in the world was the color white, we would not be able to see because there would be no contrasts. I fully understand this concept, but it doesn't make it any easier. It was such a wicked thing to do. The willful destruction of something so special, this historical and symbolic tree, in so many people's lives for so many centuries goes beyond belief. It seems as if we humans have not just lost respect for each other, but also everything else in the natural order.
Some are saying that it was only a tree...and not even the original thorn, but it was NOT 'just a tree' to all of us. No, it was something sacred, something that held great meaning for many, many people...and it was taken away by someone who ust hacked it down as if it were nothing. Vandals cannot destroy the spirit of this tree for this tree was special for it was a symbol of hope...and hope cannot be destroyed. Evil cannot take that away.
And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England's mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God On England's pleasant pastures seen? And did the Countenance Divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here Among these dark Satanic mills? Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire! I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand Till we have built Jerusalem In England's green and pleasant land.