READ : Revelation 22:1-5
And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (v. 2 NRSV)
We began this set of meditations by reflecting on Genesis 1:1–2:3 and we end by pondering Revelation 22. It’s striking that the Bible begins and ends with rivers and trees.
In this mind-bending vision of God’s good future, John the Seer speaks about the river of the water of life, cascading from the throne of God and the Lamb, right smack-dab through the middle of a heaven-on-earth city. On either side of the river is the tree of life, with twelve kinds of fruit, one for each month, sustenance all year long. And the leaves of this magnificent tree are for the healing of the nations—the soothing, restorative healing of all ethnic groups and peoples.
Can we even begin to imagine what this would be like? No more trees felled to make battering rams to lay siege to medieval cities. No more trees cut to make sailing masts for colonial slave ships. No more trees pulped to make newspaper propaganda to fuel the fires of ethnic cleansing and human hate. In contrast, trees used for the healing of the nations.
May it be so. Come, Lord Jesus!
God of restoration and renewal, give us a glimpse of your great good future, so that we might be empowered to live thankfully today as if that future is present here and now.