Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Care and Use, not Exploit or Abuse (Genesis 2:15)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Week 5: Creation—Not for Sale

Week 5, Day 3

“Table Talks (1532),” Martin Luther

When some birds built a nest in his garden and always flew away when he passed by, he [Martin Luther] said, “Dear little bird, don’t fly away. I wish you nothing but good. If only you’d believe me! [Then he turned away from the nest and said,] This is how we should believe God – that he wishes us well with his whole heart. He who has given his Son for me certainly doesn’t want to kill us.

Care and Use, not Exploit or Abuse (Genesis 2:15)

Martin Kopp, Lutheran, France

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

What if the earth were to be regarded as a garden? I spent my entire childhood in a small village called Schillersdorf in Alsace, France, where cows outnumbered inhabitants. Our house had a huge garden.

My mother had green fingers and the garden was her passion and her joy. She spent hours outside, bent over the ground, planting, digging, sowing, watering, harvesting, each in its own time. It was organic as she used no chemicals.

I remember her flushed cheeks, the sweat on her forehead, the soil under her nails and on her old trousers, the tiredness on her face. But also her smile, her lengthy wanderings and the endless discussions with passersby—gardeners themselves or admirers of these fifty shades of green.

She cultivated the earth and we enjoyed the beautiful result of a garden that mixed flowers and vegetables, provided natural beauty and tasty and healthy organic food. Care and use—simple, plain, evident.

Of course, by definition, a garden is not an untouched, wild, natural place. It is a part of creation, cultivated and transformed by human hands. Hands that can wound as much as they can heal; that can nurture as much as they can exploit; that can protect as much as they can abuse. We can live with open palms or clenched fists.

I cherish this memory of my childhood in Schillersdorf. There might be much more to this story than appears at first sight. After all, both Adam and Eve were needed to fulfill God’s command to till and guard the Garden of Eden.

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”