Our First Vocation
My dad was always the gardener of the family.
It wasn’t just a summer thing either--
In the dead of winter, he ordered seeds from the catalogue
And on mild days this time of year he was outside, turning over his suburban garden patch.
One spring, my dad bought me a miniature hoe, rake, and spade.
I was probably 8 years old.
He wanted me to help weed in the garden, but I preferred to browse the strawberries and pea plants,
Eating straight out of the garden.
Years later when I was a mom, I too planted a garden-
An urban one in the front yard of our house in Manchester, where it would get the best sun.
My children delighted in wrapping grape tomatoes in basil leaves and eating it amid the tall tomato plants.
The garden was the first place I felt a kinship with the earth.
I experienced the cycles of life—
planting green beans and waiting for them to push their curled heads out of the ground;
the leafy green of the producing plants;
the brown spent vegetation waiting to pulled and thrown into the compost pile.
I enjoyed the bounty of the earth and its beauty
And the first time I planted my own green beans, reveled in the miracle of the first harvest--
A meal created out of almost nothing- just me, the seed, and the soil.
Our creation story from Genesis tonight expresses the essential goodness of the earth and our relationship to it.
This is actually the second telling of how God created the world.
The first, most famous version in chapter one, talked about God creating the world in seven days,
First light, then the sky, and later dry land and plants and animals,
And at the end of each day proclaiming that “God saw that it was good.”
Here in Genesis chapter two, God created the world by planting a garden.
It was a horticultural dream—the name Eden means “delight”
And in it “God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight ad good for food.”
Through the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil God provided life and wisdom.
Four rivers flowed to the corners of the known world, providing ample water, the source of life.
The creation was replete with beauty not only in its vegetation, but also with rare stones and fragrant resins: gold, bdellium, and onyx.
Like a master gardener, God created the first human being—Adam.
Adam’s name came from the Hebrew word for ‘soil, dust, earth—Adamah.
He was the earth man, formed from the clay of the earth.
Adam’s connection to the earth is clear—it is his source, his kin, his Mother Earth.
But the story takes it a step further.
The earth is not only fellow family, but also Adam’s work, his purpose in life.
God placed Adam into the garden “To till and keep it.”
I think this is an important point.
For the human job of caring for creation is not just a nice touch,
Something to keep Adam busy so he doesn’t get into trouble.
The human vocation to care for creation is fundamental to the way God created the world.
As it says here in chapter two, no plant or herb had sprung up
“for the LORD God had not caused it to rain… and there was no one to til the ground.”
Human beings caring for creation is Part of the created order
In fact, creation care is the first vocation of humanity
Creation care is our principle job on this earth.
On Thursday evenings this Lent, we will focus our preaching on our relationship with creation
And offer an education opportunity afterward entitled Earth Bound
to explore our vocation of creation care more fully.
We all know the sobering state of our planet—
The melting ice caps, climate change, pollution, and the scarcity of fresh water.
This Lent we are taking the time to consider what the bible and Lutheran theology say about these matters.
Caring for our planet is woven throughout the bible,
from the beginning chapters in Genesis to the end in Revelation 21 and 22.
Together we have the chance to learn more about how the ways live out our faith as caregivers of creation
Can Impact our world and the lives of those who come after us.