Today we brought the Christmas tree into the Minster where I serve. It is green now, but it will die. But for now, it stands in that space. It is a space in which there is much older wood, pews and a pulpit carved in the 1930s, and some wood going back centuries. The old will be visible for much longer than the new. And the same is true with us. The present congregation is but the latest ring of growth in a tree planted on a small rise overlooking the mouth of the River Wear in AD930. A continuous worshipping community, though one disrupted many times over the intervening years. And when we sing on this patch of earth, we join in communion with the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us into God’s nearer presence.