Psalm One has a tree in it. It is the metaphor for the righteous man. Strong. Noble. Fruitful.
His counterpart, the bad man, does not rise to the status of a tree. He is merely refuse. His life amounts to nothing more than waiting to be raked up and disposed of.
Tree and trash. Good and bad.
In Eden there are many, many trees. Probably an infinite number. Growing hither and yon, without any real nod to morality or virtue.
Except for the two “star” trees, planted right there, for everyone to see and eat from.
Well, right, everyone is really only Adam and his walking-rib mate.
But still. There’s a balance here.
The Tree of Life. No doubt the one with the more street cred than the other. I mean, how can you expect to compete with Life after all?
And then there’s the naughty tree. Well, or at least partially naughty.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Another word for knowledge, it seems to me, is trouble.
Trouble with a capital “T.”
But if we squint a bit we can see a design in the two trees: there are three whole concepts being given to us from the beginning of our existence.
Those are our primary gifts from God from which we are to build our lives.
You might even say, they form a trinity of a kind.
The Trinity of Earthly Existence.
Oddly enough, I have always viewed the Holy Trinity as a tree. No one else sees it. At least not that I’ve ever read or heard.
But I’ve stuck with my viewpoint my entire life.
And I’ve actually used this viewpoint as part of my grunt against The Church.
Mostly because I see the church as perhaps having the Holy Trinity Tree in its midst, but it’s a tree with a lopped-off limb: The Limb of the Holy Spirit.
We go to church. We sit down. We worship.
And who do we get?
God, The Father.
With a bit of King David thrown in.
A lot of words.
Cushioned by some music.
And pretty much absolutely no Holy Spirit.
Well, except for a very quick reference in the creed.
There we go.
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.
It’s not so bad, all-in-all. Giver of Life. (One Eden tree down.)
But, in Mass, is the Holy Ghost (my preferred term) actually worshiped and glorified?
Or is it a virtual worship and glorification that we are supposed to absorb from everything else going on?
Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about trees these days. No real reason.
But they might be one of my favorite forms of life on Earth. Right up there with birds.
So I could call this tree image of mine, The Tree of the Holy Trinity, or, in an effort to be more succinct, The Tree of God.
After all, the three expressions of the Trinity come together and equal God.
To me, this tree has a trunk and two very equal limbs.
The trunk being God, the Father.
The limbs being equally divided between God, the Son, and God, the Holy Ghost.
God, the Is
The trunk. Normally referred to as God, the Father.
The Creator of all things.
On the human body, you might see God, the Father as the hands. Getting things done. Made. Formed.
Or perhaps if you want to be more precise, a combination of the head and the hands.
My favorite view of him is as The Painter.
I have come to see life on Earth as a very special kind of painting.
It is a painting that was painted by God, the Father.
And yet it has the ability to continue to paint itself.
On its own.
God paints this amazing representation of everything on Earth.
And then we pick up the brush and start embellishing it. Continuing it. Playing with it.
In the English language, God, the Father is The Noun.
All that Is is God, the Father.
All God, the Father.
Until we get our hands on it.
Then children become sex slaves.
And forests become wasteland.
And the stars disappear from view.
But, still, all that IS here is from God, the Father.
God, the Pulse
God, the Force of Life.
The source of solace. Of mediation between our misery and God’s love.
The heart of the human body.
The one who keeps us going emotionally. Spiritually.
Keeps us feeling God in our bodies. Our souls.
In a way, our spiritual crutch.
The aspect of God that we can lean on when we need to.
When we are weak, he is becomes our strength.
In the English language, Jesus is The Preposition.
He links us to our lives.
He keeps us connected with God, the Father.
And with his creation.
God, the Current
Perhaps the reason the Holy Ghost is so overlooked in our liturgy is because it is not there.
It is not called “The Ghost” or “The Spirit” for nothing.
The Holy Ghost is the wind at your back.
Or the rain in your face.
Shaping your steps. Whispering to your soul.
It is also the Metamorphosis. The Transformation. The Event.
The change in our lives is down to the Holy Ghost.
We step in mud: It’s the Holy Ghost.
We win a trophy: It’s the Holy Ghost.
Wherever there is movement in our lives, there is the Holy Ghost.
And, amazingly enough, whenever there is stillness in our lives, there is the Holy Ghost.
In the English language, the Holy Ghost is The Verb.
Ever moving. Unless it is absolutely still.
So unique in The Group of Three.
Both there and not there. At the same time.
So, let’s take a moment and go back to the original trinity that I mentioned: the Trinity of the Trees in Eden.
And let’s see how this trinity matches up with the Holy Trinity.
I like connecting things.
Now, while the Nicene Creed nicely attributes Life to the Holy Ghost, I don’t see it that way.
To me, the Creator gets the mantle of Life Giver.
He was the one to create life, after all.
And, clearly, the cape of goodness rests gently on the shoulders of Jesus Christ.
The man gave his life for us.
You can’t get any better than that, now can you?
Or perhaps it should be stated – not as better than – but as “The Best.”
As the sacrifice of our Lord is the best thing that could ever happen to us.
So that leaves evil to the Holy Ghost.
Which, I think, hits the nail right on the head.
For who is it that is faced with fighting evil in our world and the next?
Who is the force that is commissioned to clean, not just our souls from evil, but evil in general?
So, there we have it.
Two trees in Eden coming into full expression in The Tree of the God.
That contains all that we have been given.