April 22, 2014
“You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:11)
It seems appropriate to me that Mary encountered the risen Christ in a garden, because I so often encounter God there. It seems like, especially this time of year, the garden is full of surprises and signs of new life. As a child, I didn’t pay much attention to growing things, and so it feels almost like a miracle to me every year when my perennials come up again, having died – gone underground – over the winter. In the meantime, my fall leaves have miraculously (with a little help from my pitch fork) become compost, rich fertilizer for my spring garden.
The spirit of God renews the face of the earth.
Choosing this psalm for today, I’ll admit that I am jumping ahead to Pentecost, but renewal is what Easter is all about. And, it somehow feels appropriate that this third day of Easter happens also to be Earth Day. Celebrated since 1970, this is a day when we lift up and celebrate creation itself, or as we call it in Eucharistic Prayer C in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer: “this fragile earth, our island home.” Earth Day reminds us of our role as stewards of the earth, and the importance of finding ways to make the earth’s resources sustainable for future generations.
Creation’s capacity for renewal is remarkable. Simply noticing and savoring creation could be a good discipline for us as we remember the fifty days when the risen Christ walked this earth. We are also reminded of the power of God which moves through each one of us, constantly bringing new life and new possibility. In words from Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem The Wreck of the Deutschland: “Let him easter in us, be a dayspring of the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.”
Plant a seed or a plant or a tree today. If you don’t have a place to plant something, look for a sign of new life coming from the earth, and take a picture of it. How might that plant’s growth and change over the coming days be an icon of new growth and possibility in your own life?