The Tree of Life

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From Frances Young’s Construing The Cross: “If Christ’s death on the cross is best construed as a sign of life, then the ancient symbol of the tree of life must be one of the important pointers to its meaning…As tree of life, the cross speaks of the superabundance of God’s overflowing love for creation, becoming a sheer gift of grace. Paralleled with the tree of knowledge, the cross is associated with Adam’s disobedience and its reversal, but associated with the other tree in the Eden narrative, the tree of life, the cross is turned into a source of healing and growth, offering the possibility of receiving and bearing fruits, becoming trees of righteousness, blossoming with fruits of the Spirit….The tree of life symbol [also] ground the cross in the natural world, in the ecology of planet earth. Even without evoking mythological associations with Mother Nature, we may observe that trees benefit the earth and its creatures, sheltering birds, absorbing carbon dioxide, providing fruit for all kinds of animals, a source of health-giving medicines and drugs – offering leaves for the healing of the nations. If the cross is signified in trees, maybe it can be discerned anywhere…a bird cannot fly without stretching its wings in the sign of the cross. If we take seriously the notion that signs of the cross are to be found everywhere, then we may discern the reality of life was never meant to be cozy and comfortable, or insulated from pain and death, but rather, even in the midst of decay and dissolution, it is potentially joyous, creative, full of vitality, beautiful and variegated, a source of wonder and an earnest of transcendence.”

Roger

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