weeds and ants

Our church service today was different, and pretty interesting. It was a time for thanking God for the farm and praying for his blessing on the farm workers and the land. We even went down to the barns and prayed by the garden and the green house and the tool shed. And there were lots of bible readings having to do with growing things.

There was a reference to the creation story, too: "And God saw that it was very good." But not much mention of the part about the curse on the soil, bringing the weeds and "the sweat of your brow." I noticed that especially because those are the things that we've been dealing with this week. Weeds in the strawberry rows already. And, in our kitchen, the ants have started intruding (we found diatomaceous earth to work very well).

It's not very enjoyable to work hard killing things, even weeds or ants. Not at all like the idyllic image of the farmer nurturing tiny new plants. But a good reminder that the world we live in is not the one designed for sinless Adam and Eve. We no longer receive gratefully from God's hand as they did, but try to grab for ourselves, seek our security in what we can hold, taking pride in what we have piled up for ourselves. So now we have to fight the competition. The thistles and Japanese beetles and deer. And even what we do manage to gather begins to rust and decay (and draw ants) as soon as we get it in the storehouse.

That's an important lesson. So I'm glad to be reminded of it regularly, at home or in the fields, and to accept the truth and rightness of the world God has designed for us as we are. There's something in it, though, that also encourages us to look elsewhere for our ultimate purpose. The bugs and rust and rot says to me, "This is not what it's all about."

So I'm also glad to turn the main focus of my thoughts and efforts to work like we'll be doing in the retreats here. Trying to give myself to something that will last. As Jesus taught, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life..." (Jn 6.27)