In the Book of Genesis there is a
narrative describing the time before creation when “… no plant of the field was
yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God
had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the
ground …” (Gen. 2:5, NRSV)
God needed and needs someone to till
the ground and maintain the garden. This creation story is based on a general belief
that the first humans lived leisurely in a garden paradise, but the scripture
says humans were needed to work the garden.
So much for the idea of lying under
a palm tree all day! The story goes on to tell us that the first humans lived a
perfect life, safe from harm and oblivious to the idea of growing old or dying.
Yet, there was work to be done. Perhaps the difference between
working in the Garden of Eden and working outside it was the burden of working
apart from God. What if we humans “need” to work in the garden for our own
well-being? Being mindful of social distancing due to health risks should not
mean staying inside staring at a screen all day.
There is something deeply powerful
about working the earth. Our earth mother has the ability to give us everything
we need, but many of us have lost that connection, and many others have never
experienced it. Without humans to till and tend the
earth, weeds take over. If left uncontrolled, weeds will choke-out the beauty
that can only be maintained by the loving care and attention of humans. Gardens
need people and people need gardens.
This time of quarantine and
uncertainty can be overwhelming. The isolation and perceived depravation can be
crippling. Our spiritual health can be endangered. But, it is spring and we
have a planet to care for! If you are confined to your home, can you work
outdoors, weather permitting? This is the best time to get your
“gardens” in shape and prepared for the growing season. If you are concerned
about food shortages, plant a garden. If you can’t till the ground, plant a
container garden. If you can only convert a small tray to a personal herb
garden, that will give you a garden to tend.
For many of us this is the time to
clean-up and manicure our lawns. Let’s not forget that we were created to till
and tend the earth. Gardening is also a way to tend to our personal well-being.
Working in the soil gives us another opportunity to marvel at what God has made
for our comfort, provision, and enjoyment. Let’s play in the dirt!
and Peace to You All,
ST. ANDREW’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
555 E. Third Street | Grove, OK 74344