Greystone Books, 288 pages
About worship, David Gambrell once said, “I like to think of worship as an organic, dynamic thing — like a tree that is rooted, growing, bearing fruit for the world.” I have no idea whether Gambrell, associate for worship in the PC(USA) Office of Theology, has read “The Hidden Life of Trees,” but doing so would certainly confirm his use of trees when referring to worship. In fact, Peter Wohlleben has opened wide a window on the life of trees that evokes wonder and awe akin to worship. Not worship of trees, of course, but worship of the living God whose presence is made visible in the beauty of creation. Our ancestors in the faith reveled in scientific discovery. This joy is what I experienced reading the author’s description of how trees actually communicate with one another using fungal networks. He goes on to the describe how trees protect themselves by clever use of toxins. I will never look upon the skin of trees – or trees themselves – in the same way after reading this book. Honestly, my regular walks in the woods are more filled with wonder and curiosity knowing what I now know from Wohlleben, a forester and environmentalist who manages a woodland in Germany. One might ask why this book in this magazine? Because once you begin to understand the life of trees, you understand better your own place in God’s creation as a steward of beauty. John Calvin once described nature as “the theater of God’s glory” where he was “ravished by beauty.” When you read this book, you will revel in the glory of God revealed in the hidden life of trees.