I was talking with some friends the other day about nutrition, and the correlation between physical and spiritual health. Somehow the topic turned to how much I always enjoyed gardening, probably because of my Italian heritage DNA! As a kid, I’d spend hours on spring and summer weekends working in our rather large vegetable garden which was tended by my grandfather, uncle, father, brother and me.
I have never felt more at peace than sitting in the dirt on a sunny summer day planting tomatoes, cucumbers, squash…etc. To me, there seems to be a palpable spiritual connection to the earth. I think God built that into us, and I think Scripture underscores that connection.
The Psalmist declares that the heavens reveal the glory of the Lord. Paul, in Romans, reminds us that God’s handiwork is evident in nature, and points to a Creator. In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6, Jesus alludes to God’s care of His creation in the way He adorns the flowers of the field more beautifully than Solomon was ever attired or provides food for the birds. Jesus says this is a picture of how much more His Father cares for His children who would simply trust Him. Yes, there is an undeniable link between the God of the universe and the universe itself.
So what’s all this have to do with political correctness or understanding our culture?
If creation is a canvas on which the Creator reveals His presence, then the less of nature and the natural world, the less there is that speak of God’s existence. As such, the Christian should be the most ardent of all conservationists for to remove elements of creation is to remove something that bears witness of God Himself.
So, does it make sense that when we surround ourselves with less of God’s creation (less clean air, trees, grass, creatures of His creation) God’s presence is lessened? I’ve come to believe that this is one of the reasons why there seems to be more chaos and stress in cities–why crime abounds, why there is less peace, and why Godless thinking is more prevalent. Yes, you heard me. The reason city living seems to be more stressful and more embracing of Godless principles is because a vestige of God’s presence has been removed from the environment.
It may not be simply that cities have a greater percentage of people and that contributes to more opportunity for crime and Godlessness. Instead, it may be that the environment has been so stripped of the presence of God that we have lost sight of Him and His place in our lives. And THAT leads to the stress and chaos.
I really believe that the trend toward urban gardening is an example of an inner spiritual yearning for people to find the presence and peace of God in the midst of urban culture that sucks life from our spirits.
So, if you’re feeling far from God, take a trip to the country and be still. Better yet, put on some old clothes, go sit in the dirt and plant some tomatoes. Then, listen to the voice of God in the wind as it speaks to you; feel His warmth toward you in the warmth of the sun. Appreciate the stillness and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
I bet you’ll feel a lot better at the end of the day.