By Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger
Rivers and trees. The Bible begins and ends with rivers and trees. Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22. Rivers and trees bookend the Bible. Why is this striking fact not more well known among followers of Jesus? And what might this text teach us about creation justice?
In this mind-bending vision of God’s good future (Revelation 21:1 to 22:7) John the Seer speaks about the river of the water of life, cascading from the throne of God and the Lamb, right smack-dab through the middle of a heaven-on-earth city. Rekindling the vision of Ezekiel 47, John reminds us that wherever this sacred river flows, every living creature flourishes. On each side of the river is the tree of life, with twelve kinds of fruit, one for each month, sustenance all year long. No more hunger or famine. No more worry about if or when you will get the next meal.
"...wherever this sacred river flows, every living creature flourishes."
The leaves of this magnificent tree are for the healing of the nations--the soothing, restorative reconciliation of all ethnic groups and peoples. And this healing includes all creation. Respect for rights and care for needs—human and nonhuman alike. In short, the leaves of this tree foster God’s good future of shalom: justice, love, the flourishing of all things.
Can we even begin to imagine what this would be like? No more trees felled to make battering rams to lay violent siege to medieval cities. No more trees cut to make sailing masts for colonial slave ships. No more trees pulped to make paper propaganda to fuel the fires of ethnic cleansing and human hate.
In sharp contrast, this tree brings healing and wholeness to all. Medicinal uses of biochemical compounds extracted from leaves or bark. Beautiful wood used to make melodious guitars and sturdy garden hoes. Generous forest canopies that provide us shade and offer homes to warblers and bromeliads and tree frogs. Sinuous streams and life-filled lakes that provide habitats for crabs and trout and loons. The leaves of this tree are for the healing of the nations and the good of all creation.
An essential aspect of our faith is hope. And an integral feature of hope is imagining a good future. May this rarely read but powerful text infuse our imaginations with an earthy and earthly vision of all things as God intends them to be. Shalom. The reign of God. Creation justice.
9/26/2021 07:44:01 am
I am Grateful for your reflections!
9/26/2021 10:19:16 am
Been reading “BP” for 40 years now and continue to be challenged. Thanks for this.
9/27/2021 03:14:44 pm
I am curious about the imagery of a tree that grows from encompassing both sides of the river? A living bridge?
11/2/2021 11:47:57 pm
i am here to give my testimony about a doctor who save my life. i was infected with HERPES for than 2 years, I tried different doctors over a period of time but no one work, but when i came on the Internet i saw great testimony about DR USELU how he was able to cure someone from HERPES virus with the help of herbal medicine I contacted him and he promised to cure my herpes virus.well i decided to give him a try, DR USELU put his best in it and gave me good and effective result just as he has promised. well after taking all the treatment sent to me by Dr USELU i went back to the Hospital for check up, and now i have been confirmed HERPES Negative. You can contact him if you have any kind of sickness like, HERPES, HIV, CANCER, PILE, HEPATITIS, DIABETES, and alot more you can contact him ON Whatsapp (+2347052898482) or Email email@example.com
11/20/2021 08:45:33 am
I am so happy, i never believe i will be this happy again in life, I was working as an air-hoster ( cabby crew ) for 3years but early this year, i loose my job because of this deadly disease called Herpes virus (HSV), I never felt sick or have any symptom, till all workers were ask to bring their doctor report, that was how i got tested and i found out that am HSV positive that make me loose my job, because it was consider as an STD and is incurable disease, i was so depress was thinking of committing suicide, till i explain to a friend of mine, who always said to me a problem share is a problem solved, that was how she directed me to DR.USELU, that was how i contacted him and get the medication from this doctor and i got cured for real, I just went back to my work and they also carry out the test to be real sure and i was negative. Please contact this doctor if you are herpes positive or any STD diseases his email is: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call or whatsApp his mobile number on +2347052898482
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
About this Blog
This blog shares the activities of Creation Justice Ministries. We educate and equip Christians to protect, restore, and rightly share God's creation.