the trees: in eden’s gates

 Part 1 of a series for Lent on the biblical trees.

 

In Eden’s gates there grew two trees put there

By God who made the earth and sky and sea;

The everlasting steadfast deity there blessed

The seeds of His own image there beside.

The man and woman, brought up from the ground,

His children and His servants on the earth;

The tree of knowledge, and the tree of life,

As covenant signs and covenant boundaries served.

“Grow your own fruit, your sons and daughters—seeds!–

And be My glory, be My image true;

Don’t turn aside from my command, because

The day you do so you will die indeed,”

Said God to Eve and Adam on that day.

But Eve, by serpent’s wit and wisdom, took

The fruit of knowledge, beautiful and sweet

(Like she herself would be, she thought, a queen–

No, more, a goddess over all the earth)

And ate it, gave it to her husband then,

He, who was there to guard her from the sin

That he now sinned as well, that he might be

A mighty king and omnipotent lord.

 

In that one moment, sin and death now reigned.

And now their unclothed state, their innocence,

Now turns to shame and fear—they strip the trees,

The trees put underneath their care and love,

They strip the trees of leafy glory for

To cover now their sin—but now the Lord

Comes full of wrath (and rightly so, you know)

And now pronounces curse and judgment. BUT.

In judgment’s speech He prophesies a seed

To grow and choke the serpent’s weeds, to give

New shelter from the storm of sin and death,

A tree whose roots will dig down deep. For now,

A brief and bloody scene of mercy shows;

To cover now their naked, broken guilt,

He slaughters now a beast and takes its skin

To clothe them—the unrighteous bearing the

Unblemished—and then sends them out to bear

The desert. And the angel plants himself

Outside the garden for to guard the tree

That would have given life, if they had but

Obeyed and chosen that one’s fruit instead.

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