God created humanity in God’s own image…and said to them, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take care of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.” Then God said, “I now give to you all the plants on the earth that yield seeds and all the trees whose fruit produces its seeds within it. These will be your food. To all wildlife, to all the birds in the sky, and to everything crawling on the ground—to everything that breathes—I give all the green grasses for food.” And that’s what happened. God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.
Genesis 1:27-31 CEB
This Lenten season I have been acutely aware of nature, particularly the plants of the earth. Our daffodils are very confused; they started to form buds and now they are under over a foot of snow! And I wonder how our farmers are handling all of this. God said “I now give you all the plants on the earth…and the trees…” and God could have added, “and I give you warm weather in February and snow in March…deal with it!” The farmers at my CSA, Roxbury Farm, let us know that “It is spring in the greenhouse! Onions and kale are up. More seeds going into trays. Just a few more months until we get to eat from our fields again.”
I don’t have a greenhouse, and during the winter I can forget my connection to God’s creation. I’m not in the garden the way I am in the other three seasons; we’re not eating the vegetables that come from our CSA. We’re mostly eating food from the freezer, vegetables from last year’s bounty, as we wait for the growing season to start.
And so we have our own “death and resurrection” going on. Our garden is basically “dead.” Oh I know that there are micro-organisms in the soil, working their “magic” as they prepare for spring. But when I look out all I see is white—our raised beds are covered. Just as in Lent, I look for signs of hope and resurrection. I see the beginnings of crocuses, and my spirit lifts. Winter might soon be over.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Teutonic word Lent originally meant no more than the spring season. The word also has connections to Old German, and might even refer to the lengthening of days as the vernal equinox approaches. The Latin name for the fast is Quadragesima, derived from the Sunday which was the fortieth day before Easter.
Lent will soon be over. Even as we look at the snow blanketing our gardens, we know that the promise of spring is around the corner, the hope of Easter awaits. Make time to notice the miracle of God’s creation. The Common English Bible tells us that “God saw everything that he had made; it was supremely good.” Not just good, supremely good.
This Lent let us all find new ways to “take care of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.”