Copied from BRF New Daylight for 21 March
Revelation 2: 7; 1-2 (note the week’s notes had been on the theme Gardens in the Bible)
‘Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God… Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as chrystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.’
We have come full circle. There is no explicit mention of a garden here; indeed, the setting is a city. But the reference to paradise make the connection with the garden of Eden quite clear. The river flowing out of Eden (Genesis 2:10) becomes the river flowing through the city; the tree of life in the midst of the garden (Genesis 2:9) is here the tree of life bursting with fruit and healing foliage. And the tree’s healing properties extend way beyond the boundaries of the original garden; they are for the “healing of the nations”.
When we consider the sad and desperate state of our world, we may wonder how such healing is possible. The gap between our present experience and this vision seems unbridgeable. But, thank God, we are not required to understand how such a healing can come about; only to believe and trust that, in God’s good time, it will. There is a hymn by W.Y. Fullerton (1857-1932) sung to the tune “Londonderry Air”, which captures this hope and longing perfectly. The first four lines of each verse begin “I cannot tell”, expressing our anguish at the pain and injustice in the world. But the second group of four lines respond with a resouding “But this I know”, affirming our belief in God’s vision for our future. Barbara Mosse.
Here are the words to I cannot tell –
I cannot tell why He, whom angels worship, should set His love
upon the sons of men,
or why, as Shepherd He should seek the wanderers, to bring them back, they know not how or when.
But this I know that he was born of Mary, when Bethlehem’s manger was His only home, and that He lived at Nazareth and laboured, and so the Saviour, Saviour of the world is come.
I cannot tell how silently, He suffered, as with HIs peace
He graced this place of tears, or how his heart upon the cross was broken, the crown of pain for three and thirty years.
But this I know He heals the broken hearted, and stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
And lifts the burden from the heavy-laden, for yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world is here.
I cannot tell how He will win the nations, how He will claim His earthly heritage, how satisfy the needs and aspirations of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know all flesh shall see His glory, and He shall reap the harvest He has sown,
and some glad day, His sun shall shine in splendour, when He the Saviour, Saviour of the world is known.
I cannot tell how how all the lands shall worship, when at His bidding every storm is stilled.
or who can say how great the jubilation when all the hearts of men with love are filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
and myriad myriad human voices sing, and earth to heaven, and heaven to earth will answer:
At last the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is King!