Sunday, May 30, 2010

Working in my Yard, feeling the Rich Earth in My Hands, Fills me with Joy and, at the same Time, Helps me get Closer to God!

 I love to work in my yard, cutting the lawns, trimming hedges, weeding and planting flowers and shrubs. There is something quite wonderful smelling the rich earth and fresh cut flowers. I love the sensation of my hands digging in the rich earth, of a cool breeze blowing on my sweaty body - cooling me - as the sun beams down warmly. It is great to see the various bugs crawling around and see birds flitting around, singing as they go about their business. Working in the yard is not work to me. It's renewal. It heals, refreshes and renews my mind and my soul. It fills me with good feelings, good thoughts and inspires me to be the best person I can be. Very strange the effect it has - very spiritual - when all it is is 'work'!

Work has a bad rep. Many people think that work is part of the curse that humanity brought on itself when we chose to believe the lies of the devil and distrust God - disbelieve that He is truly good and wants to bless us always. This is understandable since God told Adam what he could expect after turning from Him and eating the fruit, "Accursed be the soil because of you! Painfully will you get your food from it as long as you live. It will yield you brambles and thistles, as you eat the produce of the land. By the sweat of your face will you earn your food, until you return to the ground as you were taken from it. For dust you are and to dust you shall return."

However, we forget what God had said before the 'Fall' to Adam, "Yahweh God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it. Then Yahweh God gave the man this command, 'You are free to eat of all the trees in the garden'." Note that, after making Adam, he gave him 'work' - 'cultivating' the Garden. He was to be responsible to make the garden flower and flourish - make it bear fruit in abundance. He was to 'take care of it' - show loving concern, tend and minister to it, love and nurture it, cherish it.

God made all things good - both the earth and all creatures and man. After each day of creation God looked at His work and said, "It is good!" When He made Man He was especially pleased! After making man in His own image - 'with His own likeness' - He said, "It is good! It is VERY GOOD!" The goodness was reciprical - good for good, grace for grace. God wanted Adam to work the land because it was a 'good' thing to do. Man was to bless (benefit) the garden and the garden would, in the process, be a great blessing to Man. Man would be blessed with fruit and beauty but would also be blessed in his soul as well. The earth, all created things, would help man to know, understand, appreciate and love God more fully - help him grow in his relationship with God.

St. Paul said, "What can be known about God is perfectly plain to them since God has made it plain to them: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and His everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things". Note that both God's existence and His power is revealed through His creation. In like manner His mind, heart and goodness is also revealed. Getting 'back to nature' actually means finding one's way back to God. Every creature reflects, like a work of art, the creativity of the mind and heart of God - the Master Artist. Therefore, getting close to nature allows one to get close to God.

One of the most wonderful things about working with nature is getting your hands on it - feeling it - and seeing, at the end of one's efforts, the fruit of your efforts. The fruit trees bloom, put off a wonderful smell, attract buzzing bees and lovely birds and then produce fruits that draw more birds and squirrels. It is nice to see the seeds you planted break through the soil, rise up into the air and then produce wonderful flowers. It is all . . . so wonderful, so good!

I thank You Father for the gift of work - especially the joy that comes from working the earth. I thank you that it renews my spirit and reveals to me the wonder of Your own good nature. I thank You for the fruits of my labor and the many creatures who are my companions while I do it. It is all wonderful how You accomplish Your good purposes through me and at the same time, use those very things to accomplish Your good purposes within me. How truly wonderful and good You are Father. I am very glad, very grateful, for all of these wonderful gifts. I am very grateful for Your love of me and of Your blessing me with Your love. Thank You Father. Amen.

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