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Sunday, February 19, 2017

"to work it and take care of it"

Stewards of the Garden

We have the world to live in on condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it, we have to know it. And to know it and be willing to take good care of it, we have to love it.”
Wendell Berry

It's almost spring here in the deep south. The jonquils are blooming and forsythia shows tips of yellow blossoms ready to burst forth. The birds are beginning to wake up and sing about mating. It's a whole month early, but it's been a warm winter—many days in the 60's and 70's that should have been in the 30's and 40's. Global warming, denied or not. The perennial question arises of whether to plant. Last year, drought killed not only the tender ground dwellers, but also, mature trees. In my yard, it killed an oak tree, a gardenia, and some fifty-year-old hollies. One of the country clubs in town lost seventy trees.

In the book of Genesis, we are told that God planted a garden,and put the human God had created into it “to work it and take care of it.” (Gen. 2:15) Stewardship versus dominion. The garden, planted by divine hands, given as a gift to provide food for us and for all living creatures, is ours to tend.

I don't know about you, but I love to amble alongside my paltry perennial garden and see the green shoots of yesteryear's plantings poking through the dirt. I like to name them, as Adam did in God's garden, and be surprised that they made it for another year in spite of heat and drought. It feels like greeting a friend I haven't seen for a long time. The iris, the hosta, lemon balm and lamb's ear. Gerbera daisies along the sidewalk, the purple velvet of spiderwort—insisting upon life, no matter what. Such a gift.

Once again, I will pull out the wild onions, dig up the dandelions, and hack back the monkey-grass. I will plant some new flowers, a little kitchen garden of herbs, and take pleasure in watching them grow. I will tend my garden for as long as I can—that's what stewards do. I wonder about you. Will your garden flourish this year? Do you water it with love?

                                                             In the Spirit,


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