You make grass grow for cattle;
you make plants for human farming
in order to get food from the ground,
and wine, which cheers people’s hearts,
along with oil, which makes the face shine,
and bread, which sustains the human heart.
Lord, you have done so many things!
You made them all so wisely!
The earth is full of your creations!
And then there’s the sea, wide and deep,
with its countless creatures—
living things both small and large.
Psalm 104:14–15:24–25 (CEB)
Psalm 104 describes the vibrant orchestra of Creation that God provides and brings life to. All things big and small have purpose and are called to participate with joy and peace.
During the global shutdown, like many others, I coped with the collective trauma, tragedy and change by engaging the outdoors. I began learning about vermiculture (also known as worm farming). Humbly, I found that God’s call to humanity is beautifully similar to God’s call to earthworms.
An earthworm’s call is more than munching through the dirt. As they munch, they create aeration in the soil, which means breaking it up for plants to root and breathe and for water to flow underneath. The worms are the essence of what it means to cultivate: to prepare, break up or loosen — in order to grow. Cultivating does not mean exploiting, suffocating or detaching ourselves from fellow Creation.
Verse 14 says that people are meant to cultivate the things that God brings forth because what we do and how we live is meant to be for all of Creation, and to prepare the way for today and tomorrow. We aren’t separate from Earth; we are Earth. We are the dirt, the wind, the water, so may we treat ourselves with intention, care and gladness.
Action: God calls to our very depths to prepare, break up and loosen our everyday routines and mindsets that have turned into dry, compacted, hard dirt. Cultivating the earth may look like … recycling (obvious, but true), changing where we invest our money (are we funding joy and peace?), becoming intentional about food we consume and what it means to honor the process from food to table (we are earth consuming earth, how can you honor its gifts?), or simply getting outside to plant our bare feet on the ground and matching the Earth’s deep breaths.
God of Creation,
May I embrace the joy to see you in the beauty you’ve created.
You invite me to be glad, to shine with life and to cultivate
that which cultivates me.
May I embrace the call to not just see the beauty of Creation. Amen.
The Rev. Julianna Whitson (she/her/hers) is a queer, Chinese American Presbyterian who works as a hospital chaplain. Julianna is passionate about her spiritual journey as it brought her liberation and empowerment to enjoy being part of Creation. As a Presbyterian and a chaplain, she wishes to welcome the whole stranger, lovingly and courageously, as they navigate their way through their human experience and their spirituality. In her spare time, she loves being outside, DIY projects, and spending time with her wife and their cat.
This year’s Path of Peace reflections are designed to help participants explore peacemaking efforts addressing some of the major issues of our time. The theme for the 29 days of the 2022 A Season of Peace is Led Forth in Peace: Critical Areas of Engagement for Peacemakers. With these daily reflections, we are invited to reflect upon ways to practice peace by engaging the following critical areas:
- Climate change
- The intersection of poverty and racism