Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Tree of Life

"The sun has risen. The trees have parted. And Disney has opened the gates to a world of adventure celebrating man's enduring love of animals, with Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. Every path in this fourth Walt Disney World park leads to thrilling encounters with the real, imaginary and extinct creatures who rule here. So get ready for a journey into the mysteries, marvels and thrills of the ever-unfolding story of animals."

So starts the description of Disney's Animal Kingdom, available on its home page. At first glance, it appears that this theme park is a place of peace and harmony, where the wolf is living with the lamb, the imaginary and even extinct creatures are lying down together. But after a few clicks, it becomes clear that God's own peaceful kingdom has not yet come to Orlando.

Disney sure makes it sound like the real McCoy: "Carved into the gnarled roots, enormous trunk and uplifted branches are the twisting, turning shapes of more than 300 animal forms. And the entire Tree is surrounded by shimmering pools and grass filled with a host of birds and small mammals. Every guest is invited to stroll The Tree of Life Garden through the root system of The Tree of Life. This soft landscape is filled with otters, flamingos, tamarins, lemurs, tortoises, and colorful ducks, storks, cranes and cockatoos."

Ah ... paradise.

The fact is that God's peaceful kingdom has not yet come to earth, neither in Orlando, Florida nor anywhere else. Please don't be fooled by the Tree of Life - it's a 14-story fake, although a beautiful one! And don't be tricked by the apparent harmony of the Animal Kingdom -- it's a high-tech theme park!

The Tree of Life does not exist at Disney. It can only be touched through a relationship with Jesus, the "shoot" from the stump of Jesse, who gives us nourishment and everlasting life. We are to remain attached to him, like a branch to a vine, and to bear much fruit with him. "Apart from me," says Jesus, "you can do nothing."