I write this to you on Earth Day, April 22, a day when we take time to contemplate, assess, educate and pray about our actions which impact God's good creation. In our baptism we are given the responsibility to be a good steward of God's creation, caring for the earth and all of its inhabitants and to work for justice and peace. This work can be daunting as there is so much that needs our voice for justice and care so that God's creation can be protected and nourished and given space to grow and flourish. With such a magnitude of issues before us it can cause us to become discouraged and think there is nothing we can do. But there is....
Tomorrow, on Saturday, we will have the opportunity to prepare and enrich the garden plots in our Sharing Garden for a new crop of vegetables. The gardening bee will begin at 10AM.
Then on Sunday, during our worship (rain or shine) we will go outside and bless the gardens. Why do this? It is a tangible way to acknowledge that all we do is holy. We are a holy people enlivened by the Holy Spirit and we live out our daily lives under the shadow of this holiness. Secondly, we ask a blessing on the gardens to remind ourselves of the God's presence in, with, and under all aspects of our lives. God is creating and a re-creating God, always making things new and so we ask the blessing on the gardens to remind ourselves that God is always re-creating us too. Thirdly, we ask a blessing on the gardens, the implements used, the seeds, the bodies as a way of asking God to remind us again through the life of Jesus how he used what was given to care for others.
In the Gospel for this Sunday Jesus reminds us again of the new commandment which encapsulated all of his teachings: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (John 13:34). This Sunday we will also be asking God to bless the work of the quilters who have made several quilts that are destined for Nicaragua through Canadian Lutheran World Relief. Our care for others tangibly shown in using what we have (garden space, fabrics, time and ability) to help others live (have food on the table and comfort in warmth from the quilts) and grow.
After worship our children will be able to plant a sunflower seed which will grow to a height between 7'-12' over the summer. What a statement of God's blessing, love, care, and protection for all of us! A blessing is a powerful thing.
Here’s a blessing I love from John O’ Donohue in his book on Celtic spirituality, Anam Cara: