Two Trees in the Garden, written by Jerry Kennell, is a fresh way of looking at world scripture and contemporary spirituality. The basic premise is that scripture was made for humanity and not the other way around. Recall Jesus’s comments on the Sabbath as he casually plucked grain and enjoyed it to the consternation of the uptight religious elite. Little acts of clarity that eventually got him nailed to a tree. But still we are afraid. Well perhaps there is reason, but into the woods!
Let’s start at the very beginning. Somehow our underlying orientation to Judeo-Christian scripture has been fear. Ask yourself, for instance, how many special trees there were in the Garden of Eden. The fast answer for almost all of us is that there was one: The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And that devil serpent tempted the Woman and she succumbed and bit that apple. Yes. She did. And who can blame the Man for following, and it all unfolds from there. A male God, with a little male Adam hiding behind God’s holy robe, and not quite as much to blame, but still banished from paradise because Eve, the woman, just did what came natural — I mean come on, she took a bite from — Hey, wait a minute. She took a bite from the fruit of one of TWO trees planted as crown jewels at the center of the garden of paradise. There wasn’t just one.
But that is where someone chose to turn the story down a path of sin, fear, despair, blood sacrifice and never good enough. And friends, it is just that — a story. A story some human wrote about their human experience of the Divine. And like all stories, it is full of capital T Truth. But you’ve got to let yourself get drunk with Spirit before you can begin to see it. So here’s a glass. Here’s a bottle. Sit down. Let’s enjoy some time together.
There were, in fact, two special trees in the Garden of Eden, planted as the crown jewels of creation: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life, side by side at the center of the garden. Creation was very good, and I don’t believe for a minute that it was anything other than the intention of Creator/Spirit/Mind/Source (C/S/M/S), metaphorically, that we eat our fill from both. The problem is, in this story, we ate from just one. And then we got scared and ran lickety-split out of the garden, full of guilt, fear, shame, ego, separation and the awareness that we were someday going to die. Yes indeed. We woke up to our humanity, the complete knowledge of good and evil. And the author of this book left us stuck and running for cover. True enough, I guess. But I think it’s time for another look at the garden.
Softly and tenderly, folks, softly and tenderly, C/S/M/S has been calling us in all times and all places, now that we are awake to our full nature, to come on back, to take those few steps over to the Tree of Life. Eat and be filled. Eat and be healed. Eat and be reunited.
It’s there, after all, at the end of the book, where we moved appropriately from a garden to a beautiful city, with the River of Life, bright as crystal, running through its center. And on either side of the river (Rev 22:2) is planted the Tree of Life, with its twelve kinds of fruit, for every month, and its leaves for the healing of the nations. Come back, come back. Eat your fill.
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