Today is Earth Day, which marks a day when we are particularly thankful for the place we call home – planet Earth. This is actually the 51st Earth day which began in 1970 when people came together to express concern for the future of our planet. Earth day is a day both to give thanks for the natural wonder all around us and to ask the question: What can I do to preserve, protect and pass on this gift to future generations?
Our place as caretakers of the earth harkens back to the tasks given to the first humans by God in the Garden of Eden. They were charged have dominion over the earth. (Genesis 1: 28) Rabbi Nahum Sarne who wrote the JPS Torah Commentary on Genesis is very quick to point out, however, the authority to “rule” over the earth is limited by God who is ultimately the only one with complete dominion. The man and the woman’s role is more in line with being caretakers on behalf of the creator. I think the language in the second creation story captures this idea better when the man and woman are charged with tilling and tending the garden of God. (Genesis 2: 15)
We actually have a boatload of gardeners in our church to love to till and tend the Earth. I’m one of them. I love to dig in the earth, break up the soil and plant new things of beauty. The tree pictured is a weeping cherry that my son and his friend helped us to plant last weekend. My husband and I prepared the bed, tilled and amended the soil, and picked out the tree. As you can see here, we had very little to do with setting that big tree. We certainly are enjoying it, however!
On this Earth day I invite you to take a walk outside and give thanks to God for the glories of the creation large and small. Then maybe think about what you can do to add to the beautiful landscape before you as you take on your roll to till and tend what God has given us all.
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