The Two Trees
by Rev Jacky Quarmby 4 September 2022
Recently, I have been reading a book called “Seeking Aliveness” by Brian McClaren. The book offers a series of reflections on well-known Bible passages. In one reflection, the author considers the story of Adam and Eve in the garden and the two trees … the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
McClaren writes that the Tree of Life is a beautiful image suggesting health, strength, fruitfulness and growth - all that we mean by “Aliveness”. Whereas the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil signifies a desire to play God and to sit in judgment on parts of God’s Creation.
The danger is that while God’s judging is always wise, fair, true and merciful. Our judging is frequently ignorant and biased … calling things evil that God considers to be good. We say that this person is good and deserves to live … but that person is evil and deserves to die … we say that this creature is good and deserves to survive, but this creature is worthless and can be driven to extinction. God sees everything as good, but when we eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, then we accuse more and more things of being evil … we become more hateful, vengeful and destructive … and less compassionate, merciful and kind.
Jesus says in Matthew 7: 1 – 2, “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
In his book, McClaren encourages us to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life and see the value and goodness of our fellow human beings and every part of God’s beautiful Creation, rather than choosing to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and sitting as judge and jury on everyone and everything around us.
As we enter the Creation Season in the Christian church and prepare to celebrate harvest – let us take the time to commit to valuing, cherishing and caring for every one of the people, the animals and the plant life that share this amazing planet with us.
Song: For the beauty of the earth
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God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you! Amen
(A prayer written by the Pope)