Some days we can’t get out to the park – to the nature that surrounds us. So what else can we do to connect with the creation and the Creator?
Today I did a little something to brighten up ye old homestead. I got up early, before it got too hot and planted some purple, white, and pink petunias in the front garden near the steps. While we were gone to YNP it got very hot in VA and it burned up the winter pansies. They lasted until June 26th so that is pretty good. I definitely got my monies worth. But they were burned up now and the front garden was looking pretty pathetic. So off I went to my local garden shop to bring some color into our lives and our garden. I love this job. I love having a little flower garden. It brings a bit of nature into our suburbia. Every time I see those flowers when I come home or leave a smile breaks out on my face and my heart is lifted up to God in praise for such beauty.
Hildegard of Bingen (who becomes an official saint of the Catholic Church this year) said: “As the Creator loves His creation so creation loves the Creator. Creation, of course, was fashioned to be adored, to be showered, to be gifted with the love of the Creator. The entire world has been
embraced by this kiss.” Maybe that is why I love the flowers and praise God when I see them.
I don’t know why I love planting flowers. Is it the smell and feel of the earth in my hands? Is it the little insects I encounter as I dig? Is it the taking care of another living thing? Probably a combination of all of that is what brings me back to gardening again and again.
Have you ever thought of the wonder that is soil? Have you ever thought of all the living things in it? Have you ever thought of all the living things that depend on soil? The Bible says that humans were made out of the dust of the earth. We are made out of earth. See Genesis 2:7.
Have heard the joke about God and the scientists? It goes like this:
God was sitting in heaven one day when a scientist said to Him, “God, we don’t need you anymore. Science has finally figured out a way to create life out of nothing – in other words, we can now do what you did in the beginning.”
“Oh, is that so? Explain…” replies God. “Well,” says the scientist, “we can take dirt and form it into the likeness of you and breathe life into it, thus creating man.”
“Well, that’s very interesting… show Me.”
So the scientist bends down to the earth and starts to mold the soil into the shape of a man. “No, no, no…” interrupts God, “Get your own dirt.”
Soil is amazing stuff. It is a universe unto itself. It is a vast community of living things that supports more living things. We can’t live without it. We need soil. Have you ever thought of that? We are so interconnected. Why would God make soil this way? The words of funeral services and Ash Wednesday services (beginning of Lent – time of preparation for the resurrection and Easter) give us a clue and a reminder of soil’s importance: “From the dust you were made and to dust you will return.” You can substitute the word ‘dirt’ for ‘dust’. Interesting isn’t it?
And yet our living destroys so much earth – tons and tons of soil erode every year.
In his book, “The Paradise of God”, Dr. Norman Wirzba says: “We are not simply cultural begins inhabiting an intrahuman world. As embodied, we are also biological begins, which means that we are necessarily and concretely tied to and dependent upon biological habitats and the evolutionary processes that sustain them. The health of ecosystems clearly contributes to our own health, just as our activity has the potential to harm or help ecosystems.” P. 8-9.
Wirzba takes his thoughts on soil, creation, and its importance to the ‘next level’ as he talks about the connection between soil and salvation. He says, “The aim of salvation is to create the space in which the joy and peace of God’s creation can be experienced and shared. The attainment of salvation demands that those forces which undermine creation – violence, greed, suffering, jealousy, pride – be confronted and overcome.” P. 19 Redemption, salvation, restoration all go together.
Salvation is about bringing and restoring wholeness. If we are made of the stuff of the earth (soil and some would say star dust from that first explosion of creation) we will only be made whole as it is restored to wholeness and all will be saved. Restoring wholeness to creation was the main purpose of Jesus, Emmanuel – God with us, coming. As we restore and make whole we fulfill the purposes of God in Jesus Christ – and it all begins with soil… really…think about it…. In that wholeness and finding ways to make it happen – it takes time – just like it takes time to grow those flowers from seeds and in that connection with the creation we make space for the pace of grace….
And it might be interesting to note that according to the Bible it all started in the Garden of Eden, and Jesus sought comfort on his last night in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the resurrection happened in a garden tomb….something to think about….
And this whole train of thought started with planting some flowers to beautify our little place on the planet….Praise be to the Creator who made heaven and earth…..