From A New Reader: I am a new reader but somewhere I learned about the Glastonbury Thorn, can you tell me a little bit about it?

Tor in the backgroundTor in the background Dear New Reader: Here’s a collection of small articles we published in the past about the Thorn Tree.

“Christian legend dictates that Jesus’s great uncle, Joseph of Arimathea came to Britain after the crucifixion 2,000 years ago bearing the Holy Grail – the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper.

He visited Glastonbury and thrust his staff into Wearyall Hill, just below the Tor, planting a seed for the original thorn tree.

Roundheads felled the tree during the English Civil War, when forces led by Oliver Cromwell waged a vicious battle against the Crown.

However, locals salvaged the roots of the original tree, hiding it in secret locations around Glastonbury. It was then replanted on the hill in 1951. Other cuttings were also grown and placed around the town – including its famous Glastonbury Abbey”.

Wikipedia Encyclopedia, a good source for more information, mentions the custom of sending a budded branch of the Glastonbury thorn to the Queen at Christmas.

The London Daily Mail highlighted a Luke Salkeld article in, I think, 2010 and its headline blared, “Were anti-Christians behind pilgrimage site attack?” The article went on to say:

“Standing proudly on the side of an English hill, its religious roots go back 2,000 years. But a single night of vandalism has left an ancient site of pilgrimage in splinters.

The Holy Thorn Tree of Glastonbury has been chopped down in what is being seen by some as a deliberately anti-Christian act. A feature of the skyline surrounding the Somerset town, the tree has been visited by thousands retracing the steps said to have been taken by Joseph of Arimathea, who some say was Jesus’ great uncle”. [Ed: Cuttings from the tree have failed to take hold but fortunately past cuttings from the original tree sent to other Israel nations are alive and well.

We published a short interesting article in 1963 that was taken from an Illustrated London News column dated April 6th, 1963. It said:

“An elderly American, a man of sensibility and culture, was touring England in 1959, seeing the Cathedrals, of which he had exceptional knowledge. He visited Glastonbury and there he purloined a four-inch twig of the famous Thorn. Some days later he was found dead in his bed at a London Hotel.

The small piece of the Thorn tree was sent back to the United States with his belongings. Here is a brief chronology of its career:

Picked from the tree, June 2nd, 1959.
Pressed and dried in a book until September, 1959.
Sealed into a velvet-lined airtight frame in January, 1960.
Hung, in its frame, in the Library in April, 1960.
The curtains of the room shut up until April, 1961.

In that month, one year and ten months from picking, the Library was opened. The piece of Thorn in its airtight frame was then found to have flowered”.

From Various Readers: I get many telephone calls and other messages expressing much fear for what is going on in their lives and in the world. Most are desperately afraid of the impact of the ISIL terrorism, the sense of war breaking out all over the globe, fear of their own governments, the seemingly increased natural disasters, inability to keep up with living standards, the violence taking place in their communities as a result of drugs, alcohol, crime and loss of Christian values, and many other concerns. One man told me how the fear is constantly with him and he doesn’t know how to combat it.

So, My Friends: How do we cope, because society is changing very rapidly and not for the better. I had a letter of desperation from another reader two/three years ago and I think it’s time I again pass along what I had written him. I hope it provides food for thought for the fearful mind. I wrote: “No one can really project the short-term future but there is a great future out there with a wonderful ending, although we cannot see it. I recall the late former prime minister of Canada, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, once remarking, “It’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from there.

Have you ever read John 6, particularly verses 15-21? Now there is a deeper meaning to these verses but just reading the story of the disciples out in the boat with the wind blowing furiously around them, they thought they were going to capsize. Then they saw Jesus coming toward them above the water and He calmed them with the simple words, “It is I, be not afraid.”

The beautiful point in this story is that Jesus is there to help us in our difficulties and our fears but we must ask him and above all, we must cherish our relationship and try to live as He wants us to. You know, friends, if you ever read the miracle of Blood River or the Angel of Mons, you would know how wonderful God’s protection is. So, we shouldn’t get into the habit of dwelling on misfortune and what could be. Things are going to happen, the Bible describes this to us, read Matthew 24 for instance. But, as I said, there is a wonderful ending and in our relationship with Christ, we can look ahead with confidence.

Let me share an example of His protection. Psalm 91, is often referred to as the “Christian Soldiers” Psalm. And of course, as the old hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers” depicts, we are all Christ’s soldiers, at the front to extol news of the glorious Kingdom that awaits us.

There is a story that took place during World War I, when the 91st Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Expeditionary Army was preparing to enter combat in Europe. Most of the men were “green” or “inexperienced” soldiers who had never seen combat. The Brigade’s commander, a devout Christian, called an assembly of his men, where he gave each a little card on which was printed the 91st Psalm. They agreed to recite this Soldiers Psalm daily.

Did you know that the 91st Brigade was engaged in three of the bloodiest battles of WWI; Chateau Thierry, Belle Wood, and the Argonne? While other American units similarly engaged had up to 90% casualties, the 91st Brigade did not suffer a single combat related casualty!

This Psalm shows the “safeguard, the haven of rest,” for the true Christian soldier. Two years ago, I published a paraphrased version of Psalm 91 and maybe it might help us to often repeat this, or the words from the Authorized King James Bible, because they represent the simple recipe for our protection.

Happy am I under the protection of God Almighty
He is my Refuge, my Fortress; In Him I can trust
For He will surely deliver me from the evil one’s trap
Its raging tempest like calm when I am in His care

No, I need not fear the terrors brought upon me
Nor of the evil plots and slandering lies of the wicked
Thousands may succumb but the evil will pass me by
Because I have made the Lord my dwelling place

The evil ones will be punished and I shall witness it
But no harm will befall me for He will have His Angels
To defend me and watch closely and carefully over me
And lift me up should I ever encounter rocky roads

Because I have loved the Lord He will deliver me
I know His Name, His mercy, His love and kindness
When I call upon Him in trouble, He will answer me
Long life shall He give me and lead me to His Salvation

God bless all of us as we pass through tribulation, knowing that as our relationship with Jesus grows stronger and stronger, despite the great wind [adversities] blowing through the world, our fear and stress will subside”.