READ : Revelation 21:22–22:7
And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (v. 2 NRSV)
We were on vacation and had been traveling for a number of weeks. Everyone—I, my wife, and our three young daughters—was tired. We were ready for the feel of our own beds, the sights and sounds of our hometown, the familiar routines of life. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we were ready to chant, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
In this the last chapter of the Bible, John is trying to describe God’s good future of shalom. There is a renewed heaven and earth. The holy city descends and heaven and earth are one. God pitches his tent with us mortals and wipes every tear from our eyes. And the One seated on the great throne declares that he is making all things new (not all new things).
And note this: there are rivers and trees, and the leaves of the tree of life, with twelve kinds of fruit, are for the healing of the nations. No more trees used to make battering rams to lay siege to medieval cities. No more trees felled to make masts for colonial slave ships. No more trees pulped to make propaganda to fuel the fires of ethnic cleansing. These trees are for healing. This is a vision of shalom. There’s no place like home.
Good and loving God, giver of life and restorer of all things, may we rest in the promise of the resurrection and the renewal of heaven and earth.