Theme link

As you might expect from a churchman, there’s a theological motif running through the album.  The Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 is one, but so is The Creation as told in Genesis 1.  Then there’s gardeners, birds, money and debt . . .

The link is the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem c.1000 BCE which, interpreting the descriptions in the Second Book of Chronicles, modelled in stone, gold, bronze and fabrics the seven Days of Creation and the Garden (guarded by its two fearsome angels), with Adam as the first ‘priest’ – a kind of Green Man, I guess.

But in Jesus’s day, the (rebuilt) temple also represented a corrupt, ineffectual and greedy political and financial system that threatened the stability of the entire world.  (The ‘Jezebel’ of the apocalyptic Book of Revelation is probably Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, not Rome).  According to the gospels, Jesus cursed it, likening it to a fig tree that bore no fruit.  (The ‘forbidden fruit’ in the Garden of Eden is more likely a fig than an apple).  Of all cultivated plants, the fig sucked the most water and nutrition from the soil, and therefore a barren fig was a curse.  The gospel story tells that when Jesus cursed the fig tree it withered up.  The story then continues with his Palm Sunday march on the Temple Mount, with him telling his disciples “If you have faith no larger than a mustard seed, you could do what I did to this tree.  And you will be able to do even more.  You could tell this mount to get up and jump into the sea, and it would.”  (Matthew 21 : 12 – 22, also Matt 17 : 20 – 21) This is as told in the gospel of Matthew – by tradition, a reformed financier/taxman!  Steve Tilston’s contemporary version (track 11) reads :

“Well, it’s a global market . .  They can take their jet and park it somewhere where the sun refuse to shine.”

Mark’s version continues the story with Jesus telling his hearers that if they want to be released from life-sapping indebtedness they don’t need the Temple’s punishingly expensive rituals – they need to forgive their debtors (Mark 11 : 25 – 26) thus rebuilding community ‘from the bottom up’.  There are several parables on the same theme.

Elsewhere, we are told that such small acts of rebellious ‘faith’ (that is, loss of faith in the prevailing system) are the seed of a global community of peace and justice : “It is like what happens when someone plants a mustard seed in the garden.  The seed grows as big as a tree, and birds nest in its branches.”  (Luke 13 : 18).  The birds are commonly taken to imply the ‘nations of the world’, and birds play a significant part in the album.