The Garden

The Garden

Author: Fr. David+
April 05, 2020

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!

Blessings and Peace to You All,
Fr. David+


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