Tempting fate and the last frost, on Monday morning without gloves I planted some lettuce and eggplants in the raised beds in our backyard. I love to stick my hands in the warm dirt after months without touching it and settle new, living things into the ground.
There was still dirt under my nails by the early afternoon when I was standing in a cemetery in Basking Ridge with Marion (Gene) Taylor’s family and friends. I picked up some newly turned earth for the second time that day and sprinkled it into his grave.
“You are dust and to dust you shall return.” says God to Adam and Eve after they are banned from Eden and consigned to toil over the ground until they return to it (Genesis 3:19). If the news about going back to the dirt surprised Adam it shouldn’t have. After all, he was made from it and his name is even a play on the Hebrew word for earth- “Adamah”.
As kin to Adam, how do you feel about being made out of dirt and having clay feet? Think of the times you were softened and turned over after an unyielding season. When were you last pressed into rock, broken down into sand, dried into dust and blown away?
Agreed: life is short, we are small and that is scary, but earth is the stuff of life and the medium God uses. With my hands in it again on Monday I was reminded that the dirt is full of possibility. Unseen life is hidden there and growing in ways that are miraculous. God is at work in us too, in ways we can and can’t see. Church is a place to listen to your life; to the temporariness of it and to what God doing in you. Church invites humility and openness to awe. It is a place to weed, to sift through rocks, soak in the Gospel and loosen the ground so new things can stretch breathe.
Whether you’re watching or not, God is at work in the dirt of you.
So please come to Grace Church Van Vorst on Sunday. We’ll face our fears, embrace wonder and be human, be Adamah, together.
See you then,