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Archive for May, 2014

God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.  Genesis 1:29-30

GardenWe started gardening when our children were little, because we wanted them to know what food was and where it came from. We wanted them to experience the smell of the damp earth, the warmth of the sunshine and the wetness of the rain, the sound of bees pollinating the flowers and the colors of ripening fruit. We wanted them to know the tangy taste of a fresh raspberry, as well as the effort and care required to pluck it from its thorny stem.

We started our garden thinking we would be the teachers, but it seems the garden taught us. We learned about the connections between green plants and living creatures, and the garden brought us close to critters we’d never paid attention to before. We learned about the incredible bounty God provides – there’s nothing skimpy or miserly in the way nature works – as well as the great diversity of living things that share our world. Our garden led us to the local farmer’s market and taught us about eating in season. We learned about nutrition, and new ways of cooking, and eating lower on the food chain. We learned about food insecurity and how community gardens can help people nourish themselves and their children. But mostly we learned that God made earth so there’s more than enough, if we pay attention to the way it all works together.

I’m thinking that every church family should have a garden, and that part of our weekly prayer time ought to be spent weeding and watering. I wonder what the turnips and peas would try to teach us about God. Do you think we’d be smart enough to learn it?

God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.  Genesis 1:29-30

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“As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats: Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet?”  Ezekiel 34:17-18

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I’ve got two blogs going, my own and one for the church, which is where I started this conversation about environmental stewardship as a spiritual discipline. I really think it belongs here, though – it’s not your orthodox stance, but I’ve been thinking about it for a lot of years. (If you want to catch up, you’ll find the beginning of the conversation here.)

So, my first career was spent as an environmental engineer. I worked for a large industrial company that made the materials and chemicals used to build wonderful things, like houses and cars, ships and bridges and hospitals. When I started my career 35 years ago, we were really just beginning to learn what pollution could do to our water and air and land, just beginning to understand the complex connections between our health and all those toxic byproducts we also produced when we were making all those wonderful things to improve people’s lives. I’m know it seemed to many people back then that the world was so big, and our waste so small in comparison, that we couldn’t have much of an impact, not really. We were wrong.

The problems of pollution in our industrial world are complicated and can seem beyond the ability of any of us to effect. Yet in this, too, we have been given responsibility by our Creator to walk lightly on the earth, preserving the gifts of earth, air, and water which sustain life on our planet. But what can a single individual do? Well, we can choose to buy less toxic products, buy only the amounts we need, and dispose of any leftovers properly. We can reuse, recycle, and repurpose all kinds of things, rather than throw them away. We can pitch in and help clean up our rivers, parks, and roadways. And we can make sure that our political leaders understand our desire to keep our natural resources clean and wholesome for generations not yet born. I’m sure there are other ways to make a difference that I haven’t thought of. What do you think we can do?

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