Kissing Trees

Occasionally, I find trees or their branches ‘kissing’. Growing so close, they touch, and then merge. This example I saw on Howgill Lane whilst walking to chapel. The process is officially called inosculation and describes the natural phenomenon whereby branches and even roots conjoin. A better example I found in Grange, below. Grafting is a man-made version of this process; it is the concept employed by the apostle in Romans 11 to describe the merging of the wild gentiles into cultivated Israel. The example in the photo above is actually of the same tree. It is therefore I think a better picture of Christian fellowship than of the gentile entry into Israel. Also in Romans (16:16), Paul urges the saints to ‘greet each other with a holy kiss’. We of British culture are somewhat hesitant to go around kissing people to whom we are not related, though it is certainly a practice better known among continentals. When the saints of Rome kissed each other in greeting, they were, like the Howgill tree, kissing their own bark. God’s people are a family. We are related, not by the kiss, but by the root. Any two in Christ may say: “we be brethren”.