Teaching about Trees

Authored by Mark Kelly in Issue #34.2 of The Sower

Our redemption took place on 'a tree', the tree of the Cross. This is the culminating point for a wonderful teaching we can give on the importance of trees in creation and in the story of our redemption.

Trees occupy a central place in the Scriptures. Stonewall Jackson understood his Bible well, and knew that as he was departing this life he would meet his Creator at ‘the trees’. Just as Genesis begins with a meeting at two trees, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil and the Tree of Life,, so in the restored Garden of Paradise there is a tree, and in the book of Revelation we are shown that, ‘The Leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations.’ (see Gen. 2:17; 3:22; Rev. 22:2). The life giving tree is restored, and we may meet God their again in restored communion. The two trees of Genesis that were meant to be a meeting place for God and Man soon became a memorial of the death of humanity, where our first parents met the serpent and heeded its word instead their Father's.

Scripture sees trees as meeting places. In this arid world of the middle east there is a natural theology of trees as points of encounter between God, or His prophets, and His children. Where the tree is, there is life. Not only do we have the fruit of the tree but also shade and a water source that is feeding it. Time and again we shall see that trees are signs of life, rest and meeting.

There are a large number of trees, plants and shrubs in the Bible. These are 'types', pointing the way to the ultimate ‘Tree’ of Scripture, the tree of the Cross. Typology works in this fashion: there is a progression and construction of types until the final unveiling of the superior 'anti-type', that is, the reality towards which everything else points. Thus there are many leaders who point to the one Messiah; many;; prophets prophesy until the last great Prophet; many meals are taken, which point to the Last Supper; the women of Scripture all point to one ultimate Woman par excellence; plants and trees all lead us to one specific Tree.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Barbara Morgan—Pursuing Holiness
By Dr. James Pauley
Free What is holiness? In our lead article, Dr. John Cavadini describes holiness as the Second Vatican Council did, as “the perfection of love.” [1] How can we begin to imagine love’s perfection? Considered abstractly, we cannot wrap our minds around it. We need to somehow see it, if we are to understand the aim above every other in the Christian life... Read more
What Is Holiness?
By John C. Cavadini
Surely one of the most beautiful, one of the most enduring, and one of the most sublime teachings of Vatican II is the universal call to holiness in Lumen Gentium, chapter 5. I have never reread this chapter without feeling an increase of my own zeal for answering this call, even as I become more aware, at the same time, of how much I fall short.... Read more
The Way and Witness of a Holy Marriage
By Deacon James Keating
Free The matrimony of two of the baptized…is in real, essential and intrinsic relationship with the mystery of the union of Christ with the church…it participates in its nature…marriage is deeply seated and rooted therefore in the Eucharistic mystery.[1] This spiritual vision of marriage, as articulated by Cardinal Caffara, may appear as novel or even... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now