In a small Louisiana town, Jesus has to be completely confused and heartbroken. It all started with a tree.
The tree was at the high school, and it had the unwritten distinction of being a whites-only tree. When black students were granted permission to sit underneath it, 3 nooses were hung from it by white students. From there tensions escalated to the point of multiple fights and an assault with a loaded shotgun. The District Attorney was called in to address the black students and remarked that he could “end their life with the stroke of a pen.” White students were beaten up. Black students were beaten up. And eventually six black students were charged with assaulting a white student. Each of the Jena Six, as they had come to be known, was being tried to the fullest extent of the law. One of them had been attacked by a white student with a beer bottle prior to his alleged crime; his attacker was given a misdemeanor charge and probation. How did they get there? It all started with a tree.
And long ago, humanity found itself at a crossroads. A decision had to be made: Follow their creator, or disregard his command and eat the fruit. The problems that are in Jena, Louisiana all have their root in the Garden. In a piece of fruit. It all started with a tree.
And it will all end with trees. Revelation 22 reminds us of the river of life that is sandwiched between two trees whose fruit will bring healing to the nations. At one time, fruit created a rift in creation that still reverberates today, but eventually our nations will be healed. Jena will be healed. I long for that day.