4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
On the day the Lord God made earth and sky— 5 before any wild plants appeared on the earth, and before any field crops grew, because the Lord God hadn’t yet sent rain on the earth and there was still no human being [Hebrew adam] to farm the fertile land, 6 though a stream rose from the earth and watered all of the fertile land— 7 the Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. 8 The Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east and put there the human he had formed. 9 In the fertile land, the Lord God grew every beautiful tree with edible fruit, and also he grew the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil….
15 The Lord God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it. 16 The Lord God commanded the human, “Eat your fill from all of the garden’s trees; 17 but don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because on the day you eat from it, you will die!”
The EarthCOR ministry encourages the Resurrection family to support the Giving Grove program (https://www.givinggrove.org/). Giving Grove works to actively plant fruit trees in food desert areas, helping both the people who live in those areas and our city’s environment.
Genesis’ second creation story was less formal than Genesis 1:1-2:3. It said God created a human first, then plants and animals. (Read as literal history, that would reverse the Genesis 1 order of creation.) God then gave the newly created human a “garden” in which to thrive and assigned him “to farm it and to take care of it.” Read together, the two creation stories show “humanity has the unique power to alter the world, but we are ultimately dependent on the earth and its life for survival.” *
Dear Jesus, make me ever more aware of the ways in which my choices affect the people, the other forms of life, and even the life-sustaining earth around me. Amen.
* Theodore Hiebert, sidebar note “Dominion or Dependence?” in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 8 OT.
** Ibid. *** Theodore Hiebert, study note on Genesis 2:6 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 7 OT.
When the pandemic lockdowns started, my social media suddenly filled with plant pictures. At first, I thought it was strange. Friends who never wanted plants as gifts, did not have a green thumb, or said they did not have time for plants were buying seeds and plants online to start gardens on their windowsills, balconies, and backyards.
Today's passage reminds me that gardening or caring for plants and the land is a part of who we are. Genesis says that humans were made "from the topsoil of the fertile land" and called "to farm it [the land] and to take care of it." During the pandemic, my friends' sudden desire to cultivate plants was a God-given desire that has always been a part of us.
And when I finally started my little garden of plants, I realized the joy and awe of "digging in the dirt" and watching God's creation grow. I pray that the Spirit opens opportunities for you to dig in the dirt this week.
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