Today’s Bible reading
Read Romans 8
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
More thoughts for meditation
In Romans 8, we, as Christians, are assured of the love and grace of God. With that grace, we are called to live life in and of the Spirit and not of the flesh. This passage fits with this call to be better stewards of the earth by reminding us that we are not here to live in excessive material abundance, but to carefully use our possessions as part of our prayerful life with God. Our rewards will be great if we humble ourselves as Jesus did, limiting our wasteful habits.
In 1982, Agnes Denes planted 2 acres of wheat in lower Manhattan in the shadows of the World Trade Towers. She tended the fields in a bold confrontation between contemporary commerce and land use.
Many of us tend small (and not-so-small) green spaces throughout our urban landscape in practical attempts to keep grow food, grow communities and reduce the heat traps of concrete and tarmac. These efforts are bold testaments to a commitment to live humbly against the pull of agribusiness and other commercial interests. We keep trying to humbly plow the earth and resurrect its gifts.
Sharon Olds writes an Ode to Dirt:
Dear dirt, I am sorry I slighted you,
I thought that you were only the background
for the leading characters—the plants
and animals and human animals.
It’s as if I had loved only the stars
and not the sky which gave them space
in which to shine. Subtle, various,
sensitive, you are the skin of our terrain,
you’re our democracy. When I understood
I had never honored you as a living
equal, I was ashamed of myself,
as if I had not recognized
a character who looked so different from me,
but now I can see us all, made of the
same basic materials—
cousins of that first exploding from nothing—
in our intricate equation together. O dirt,
help us find ways to serve your life,
you who have brought us forth, and fed us,
and who at the end will take us in
and rotate with us, and wobble, and orbit.
Suggestions for action
In what ways are you growing new things from what God has given of the land, water and sky? In what concrete ways can you plant seeds that further nourish our walk on this planet? Contemplate and act toward humbling yourself in living lighter and growing more of what you need.
Pray: “Lord, thank you for being the dirt beneath us. Let us grow from your abundance. Let us appreciate all that is there for us to care for. Let us renew and replenish the ground, the water, the air all around us.”