The Tree of Life

  • acrylic paint on wooden panel

Baptized and deceased church members are commemorated in the current ecclesiastical year by hanging leaf like name plates on this panel.

The Tree of Life is according to Genesis, planted by God in the Garden of Eden, along with the 'Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil'. The fruits of the first tree give eternal life, but Adam and Eve are not allowed to eat it. After the fall, God surrounds the tree of life with guards, and Adam and Eve are expelled from the court. But in the last Book of the Bible we read that that the Tree of Life can be found again in the New Jerusalem, but now accessible to man. In various places in the Bible, the term ‘Tree of Life’ is used, directly or indirectly referring to the one (or more) in Paradise. The first Christians already made a connection between Jesus the Christ, His cross and the Tree of Life in paradise. Jesus' death on the cross was already seen by the early church as a source of life for the faithful. It was the moment of reversal after the situation in the garden of Eden: the cross itself becomes the Tree of Life, making new Life possible. As believers, we may know that by dying we live to eternal and flourish. Baptism is also a symbol of this renewal: through the water the old life is lived and the new is done. The Tree of Life is therefore also depicted with river currents, as a symbol for that water of baptism. This symbolism offers hope: what seems lifeless can flourish again.

In both Ezekiel and Revelation, a river flows from God's temple, and the leaves of the trees bring healing. In Ezekiel there are many trees, but no Tree of Life; in Revelation, there seems to be only one tree, located on both banks of the river. In both cases, we are returned to the original state of the earth. In the New Jerusalem, nature has been restored to its original beauty and fertility: no leaf will wither more. "There will no longer be a curse" and "There will be no more crying, death, mourning, or pain." The curse of sin will be gone; The true Tree of Life, Jesus Christ, will heal people. The tree of Life is the source from which man receives life: they do not reach eternal life on their own, but are completely and always dependent on God.

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life..’ (Romans 6:3-4)

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