just be, creation care, and Earth Day

It has been awhile since I’ve written, and I have been wondering why that is so.  I love to write, as it has always steadied me while offering me a source of meditation to discern my thoughts, feelings, etc.

Last night, as I finished a 4-evening stint of seed sowing and flower transplanting, I sat on my front porch with Daisy and looked out over our little farm.  I realized that what my soul had needed more than anything in the last month was not to be blogging or tweeting about nature–it needed to be connecting with creation.

Being a practitioner of creation care, I hold a special place in my heart for Earth Day, and usually the week or so before, I begin sharing articles and websites, poetry and essays.  But this past week, other than my Sunday morning sermon, I’ve found that the best way I could honor Earth Day was by communing with the Creator in the garden.

orange flowers

And so, this morning, before reading articles on Earth Day, or sharing meaningful quotes on Facebook, or tweeting the latest on climate care, I encourage you to do this:

Walk outside then close your eyes.  Listen to what surrounds you.  Even amidst the hustle and bustle of the modern world, see if you can find the authentic sound of nature.  Breathe in the air then release it.  Feel yourself connect with all that is around you. Feel your body and spirit lighten as you sit for a moment and “just be” in creation.  Reflect on the grace and peace that nature offers you.

sunflower butterfly

Now, imagine what it would be like if none of it existed or if you couldn’t access it daily.  How would mind, body, and spirit change?  How would your relationship change with the Creator?  What would you do to regain or repair that connection?

That’s why I care for the Earth–as a way to honor and give thanks to the One who gifts me everyday with a space and place to find rest, peace, solace, and comfort.

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prayer and preparation for Earth Day

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
— e.e. cummings, North America

As I have been meditating on Earth Day this week, I have reflect on all that will be celebrated today–green living, sustainability, local farming, a return to simple.  I realize that one highlight of Earth Day is to remind us of practices that can save our dear Mother–some practices that have been created in response to ways that we have abused and neglected her.  So while this day is a day of celebrating, it also saddens me to think of how we lost our way and in turn, poisoned our waters, exhausted our resources, and polluted our air.

But I find hope.

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I find hope in the family farms, CSAs, and urban farmers who are committed to a simpler and more sustainable way of life.  I find hope in the paradigm shift in big business that promotes greener practices.  I find hope in the public awareness as it grows broader in its understanding of how we can nurture Earth as she was intended to nurture us.

On a very personal level, I find hope right here in my own backyard.  When I step outside to find a snail slithering slowly on my cucumber trellis or a tiny tomato sprout peeking through the dirt, I am filled with wonder.  When I experience the colors of autumn leaves or the blossoming of spring flowers, I am blessed.  This connection with creation fills me not only with a sense of awe but also commits me to a sense of responsibility, for it is I who cares for our Mother  just as the Creator cares for me.

may 1 snail in dirt

On this Earth Day, I encourage you to adopt practices that support sustainability and simple living, but also just get outside.  Get outside and celebrate the very reason for Earth Day–the natural, the infinite, the yes.

gentle gardeners and creation care~a meditation for Earth Day

As Earth Day approaches, I have been revisiting some of my blog posts on creation care.  I wrote this one a couple of years ago and thought I’d press it again today.  take care~cameron

For much of the last century, religious institutions have missed–or ignored–our responsibility as stewards of the creation and to the Creator.  However, people of faith have long relished the grimy pleasures of gardening.  The process of nurturing life brings contentment and a sense of wholeness in the accomplishment.  We instinctively understand that we were designed to be gentle gardeners.  We just haven’t realized the entire planet is our garden.

~Michael Abbate, Gardening Eden:  How Creation Care Will Change Your Faith, Your Life, and our World

A couple of weeks ago, I was blessed to attend a regional conference sponsored by RAFI (http://rafiusa.org/come-to-the-table/) on farming, food, and faith.  Since that time, I have been pondering my calling as a front yard farmer and “ecovangelist” and renewing my connection with creation as Spring comes to Growing Grace Farm.

With Winter bringing disappointment, rain, and home projects, my time and energy had moved away from gardening and farming, and I can tell I’ve been feeling it in my spirit.  I don’t know about you, but there is something life-giving that grows within me when I tend to the earth–even if it’s only within the context of a small yard farm.  It is bigger than me and compels me to want to be a better person.

veggies in bowl

Last night as my daughter and I watched the movie Rent, I caught hold of a line that planted itself inside of me.  One character eloquently noted, “The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.”   Because I love the art of language, I didn’t let that one pass by–I stopped the movie and meditated on it for a moment.  When I thought about it, I realized he was right.  War brings with it destruction.  When we see photos of war-torn countries, we witness people, the environment, and communities devastated and lacking in resources, wanting for life.

Perhaps that is why gardening and farming have become so critical to my being.  They are the means by which I can put my faith into action and create–create a healthy and sustainable environment, create connections with God that nurture and heal.

gardener hand

My prayer is that in some way, each one of us will become “gentle gardeners,” engaging in creation not only for the sake of the Earth but also for the wellbeing of our faith.