Till and Tend: Some thoughts on Earth Day
Our calling to be stewards of the earth goes all the way back to the book of Genesis where God gives Adam and Eve the vocation to “till and tend” the garden (Genesis 2:15). Some translations of that verse say, “to work it and take care of it.” You get the idea: God has loaned us a garden, a place to live which will supply all our needs, however we have to work in the garden and make sure that the garden is cared for.
Many members of St. Paul’s understand these verses very well because they actually do till the soil and care for their farms. Others of us understand these verses because we live in this beautiful area and feel closely connected to the land and water.
Here is the question I would like you ask, “How big was the garden that God referred to in commissioning Ad-am and Eve to till and to tend?” We could think of the garden as finite, say 40 acres with a fence or wall around its perimeter. Our, should we think of the garden as the center of God’s entire creation which has no fence: land, seas, fields, mountains and the creatures of the sea, air and land? The answer to this question is important, because how we think about this garden-home makes a difference about how we think of our voca-tion to till and to tend.
Let’s say my garden-home is the house and property that it sits on. Does my responsibility to take care of my home go beyond my property line? Or, is my home the entire planet which God created? Do I have a respon-sibility for the well-being and care of the planet?
April is the month that we observe Earth Day. To me, thinking about the garden as the earth is a helpful way to think about the extent of my vocation to be a steward of the garden. I believe that God wants me to be con-cerned about “the garden.” God’s garden is my home, and my county, and my state, and my country, and the continents. If this is true, then every citizen of the world, me included, has the responsibility to take care of the entire garden.
This April, let’s think about what we can do for the planet this year. For example, on Earth Day my wife and I take some trash bags with us on our daily walk and pick up all of the litter and trash that we encounter along the way. This is a small, and some would say meaningless gesture. But think about it. What if every citizen of the world would make such a gesture, would our world be any different? What if every corporation cleaned up their own pollution? Would we have a renewed reverence and appreciation for the wonderful gift that God has given us to care for? Would we be more committed to the environment how we use the earth?
Let’s think about tilling and tending the garden-planet which God allows us to live on. And let’s make sure that we leave this place better off than when received it, for the sake of our children, and as the fulfillment of God’s expectation that we till and tend, work and care for “the garden.”
Trust in God, Pastor Thom
Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.
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