Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where IS That Tree of Life Anyhow?

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, 
clear as crystal, 
proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 
In the middle of its street, 
and on either side of the river, 
was the tree of life, 
which bore twelve fruits, 
each tree yielding its fruit every month. (Rev 22:1-2)

Okay, okay.  I know that what John saw can't be described very easily, and that we're often told it's in "apocalyptic language" and all that jazz.  But still, there's this tree that's in the middle of the street (or is it in the midst of the river?) and it's on either side of the river. And I always thought, "I am just not getting the layout of this picture here.  What's where?"  But then I noticed something in church.

First, we know that the tree of life is connected to Jesus' cross (a tree!) and that the fruits of this tree are for our healing.  Second, we know that blood and water came from that tree, from Jesus' side, and that we are saved via baptism (water) and the Lord's Supper (blood).  (And if you don't believe me on that, take a peek at 1 John 5.)

So here's what I'm pondering about this whole "location thing" of this tree:
When you look at the altar on Sunday morning, the chalice and the paten are in the "middle of the street," kinda.  Y'know, they're in the center.  If you're walking up the center aisle of church, they're smack-dab in front of you.  But then, what happens during the distribution?  The pastor is taking of that "tree," that fruit, to the communicants kneeling along the altar rail, "on either side of the river."  So it's in the middle and it's on either side.  I think that's cool.

Maybe this is silly.  But it takes what seems to me to be an unwieldy picture and makes it a little more understandable.  And it dovetails with what we know about the worship life of the Church and so much of the imagery used throughout Scriptures.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I'm going to be thinking about this all day, because it's such an awesome thought, Susan. I love how your mind works.