THE TREE OF LIFE vs. THE TREE WITHOUT LIFE
A story I delivered to the 2nd gathering of cells at our property 9-6-10
In the beginning God planted a tree, called the Tree of Life. In later generations and other lands it was variously known as Tree of Knowing God; Tree of Child of God; Tree of Nearness to God; Tree of Life Fruit, among others.
This tree was given for the Life and Fellowship of man with God. It was a majestic and mighty tree that could propagate easily, by just taking a twig and planting it in other soil, so it soon spread around the globe. The fruit was beautiful and ever ripe, and when eaten, produced a sense of joy, inner strength, thankfulness, kindness and even of nearness to God. When people ate it they went away better people – their families flourished, their business prospered, their health blossomed, they had more confidence and creativity, and they tended to long life.
One thing only was required to bring the fruit on the tree: a tear of sorrow and a tear of thanks. It was not strange or difficult – when a person saw the majesty of the tree and the healing grace of the fruit, tears were a natural response.
The Tree of Life flourished around the world for many ages. However, over the eons people forgot about the need for tears, and the trees, though majestic still, grew no fruit. People still flocked to the Tree, hearing the legend of the blessing it bestowed. They would sit and worship at the Tree, sing special songs, build special sacred items and offer their vows. But the Benefits of the Tree lessened in most villages of the world – disease ravaged, families scattered in hate, witches prospered in their magic, immorality was rampant. Those who went to the tree regularly lived no better than the others, though they tried harder to pretend. Villages would worship the Tree on one day then live in blatant opposition to all that the God of the Tree required.
Soon the people made schools where people were trained in the skills and theories of growing and maintaining the best trees. They developed such a system that only special graduates were allowed near the tree, so fences were built to allow only the special ones to draw near. And the Benefits of Life, the Knowledge of a Friendship with God became merely a distant theory or myth.
One day a young girl lost her mother in death, and late one night, not knowing the rules of the Special Tree Keepers, she entered beyond the fence and approached the Tree of Life. She sat at its base and poured out her heart. “Where are you, O God? I have heard stories of your promise of friendship with man, but you are distant to me! I hunger for your touch! I need you now to come and comfort me!” And she shed her tears of longing and grief at the base of the tree.
Immediately the Great Magic began to stir, and a fruit grew on a branch near her. She reached out and took the Fruit of legend, and ate. The magic went deep within her and began to comfort the deepest part of her being. Deep tears of longing and regret cleansed her soul and in a moment the course and the very foundations of her life were altered. New hope welled within; new awareness of the nearness of God – now she knew He was indeed her Father; new devotion to live forever in service to Him who gave is Life for her – she was in fact a new person! She rose from that tree forever changed.
The next day her hope and joy sparkled. Her friends and family wondered what had happened to her. And she could not contain it! She began to tell of her encounter with the Tree of Life. People thought her mad. But a few of her friends could not deny the Benefits that were daily making her into a better person. They too longed for such a transformation. So one night they conspired to climb the fence and pour out their longing for Friendship with God. Their tears were genuine sorrow and hunger for Him, and His fruit again appeared, and again they ate and were transformed in a moment.
The trickle became a ground swell – soon the neighbors and friends, then the parents and teachers, then the whole village began to steal away in the night and encounter the Living God at the Tree. Even the Special Keepers of the Tree began to long for the True Fruit of the Tree more than the theory and strategies of tree maintenance, and they became revolutionized in their thinking – tearing down the fences and rules that prohibit access. And then the people of that village began to tell the news to other villages and the ground swell became a flood – traveling from village to village, nation to nation, until the world again was brought into Friendship with God.