I’m not the greatest gardener. I can usually muster a single western omelette from the peppers I grow, two if the harvest is plentiful. Toss on top a few shakes of Old Bay, though, and I’m satisfied for a single morning meal. Despite my perpetual novice status, our family keeps at the cultivation of our small section of creation. We believe in passing along the simple truth that fruits and vegetables come from the earth not pre-packaged in vacuum seal at the grocery store. The earth is good and just as much a part of God’s covenantal dreams of renewal as any human past and present. And much like our gardens, while there is a season of passing away and barrenness, it is only to make room for new life to emerge from the resting state- maybe even better than before.
At least that is the ambitious hope.
Advent is not often a season when we think about the earth beneath and around the manger. Yet, the land upon which not only the feet of Mary tread, but also the soil wandered and worked by generations before was and is a definitive player in the unfolding of the Messianic story. The earth is vital to God’s dreams for universal and cosmic redemption. While the Scriptures speak of the earth “passing away,” (Mark 13:24-37) don’t be misled, it is only for a (re)generative season. All the earth will be made new and right again. So in this Adventing of a new creation, care for the land we call home now. Cultivate and steward love to sustain it in this life and the one to come. May we also advocate for the wellbeing and just practices of those who tend this earth on our behalf...and for more than seasonal consumptive purposes, too.
Check out the calendar of words for sacred imaging through AdventWord.