Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Earth Day: Formless and Void into Good

The third planet from the sun is approximately 200 million miles of constantly changing geography, EARTH. Before this constant change, Genesis 1:2 tells us the earth was formless, void, empty, or waste. The Message gives us a clearer picture. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. The Living Bible records the earth as a chaotic mess.
Picture the earth as bottomless, as nothing.  Picture the earth as a chaotic mess.  Then maybe, the next three words, God's Spirit hovered, will seem more miraculous. 

God's Spirit hovered and breathed life into nothingness.  God's Spirit hovered and breathed goodness, filling the emptiness. God's Spirit hovered and breathed color into inky blackness.
II'm a big fan of Before and After, and I definitely prefer God's After concerning Earth. Spring in Anderson, South Carolina is breathtaking, and I hope we fill it up on Earth Day with more color, more trees, more texture, more order and life.  Whatever we plant, it will be good.

For my own little earth, my yard, I also like the After.  Eighteen years ago, my house was lined with hedges, my lawn dotted with trees, and in between were large areas of nothing.
So, I started to work. I've spent seventeen years filling the nothing with trees, shrubs, and flowers, hoping for something good. My little earth is full of hits and misses, but I continue planting, changing, and growing for two reasons.

First, I absolutely love it.  It's a hobby. I enjoy the solitude and creating a beautiful garden spot from nothing.  What once were empty grassy areas are now filled with knock-out roses and Dutch iris.  Woods once displaying darkness are now lined with light giving pink and white azaleas and dogwoods.

Second, I have a plan.  If friends and neighbors are waiting on my yard to be complete in my lifetime, though, they'll be disappointed.  My plan is to always have a work in progress with many before and after sections.  I plant perennials in one spot but move them later.  Iris and canna lily will be moved this year as the sugar maple they're planted around finally becomes the shade tree I've longed for.  My Yoshino cherry has grown so much that there's no more grass, so I'm moving hardy "we don't care where you plant us" daylilies in the bare spots. These plants won't like the move at first, but I'll feed them until they adapt to the new space.  
In my head, I have a purpose and a picture for my little earth, but as long as I live here, it will never be complete. I enjoy spending time with my little earth too much to leave it as is. When storms or disease take away trees or shrubs, my little earth looks different, but my plan is still to make it good year after year.  Regardless of what happens geographically, I continue to dig, pull and plant.  Trees, shrubs and flowers continue to change and grow.  That's my plan.  It's what I love.
Spring is for planting. Many will plant on Earth Day. They have a plan, and that plan involves change and growth and good for their little earth.
Look around.  What was once nothingness is good, isn't it?
Now, look inside.  As God did for the earth, He also does for our souls.  Left on my own, I'm void.  Without His Spirit hovering, I'm bottomless and empty.  My soul without the Holy Spirit is a chaotic mess.  God's plan is to change me, to grow me, to make me good.  He knows what it looks like, so He feeds me and pulls out ugly, dangerous weeds. God moves me, and I feel uncomfortable for some time. Storms and disease come, but the Holy Spirit continues His work in progress for His good.
God loves His creation and has the power to miraculously take us, formless and empty, and breath order and continually form us and breath new life into us, never leaving us as is.

God has a plan, and in time, He will see that it is good,