A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a seminary class about spirituality and gardening. It was a fun class, but one question asked by a student keeps intruding in my mind. Didn’t God curse the creation after the fall? he asked, implying that it no longer reflected the glory of God and that we no longer needed to respect and look after it.
As I read through Genesis 3 which is the basis for this belief, I am struck by God’s amazing care for the humans who disobeyed him. Yes the ground was cursed (Gen 3:17-19), but it was not God who cursed it, it was the consequence of Adam’s sin. The natural created world was some how affected by by the human fall into sin and is therefore no longer paradise. Brambles and weeds grew. Human toil to produce food and care for creation increased. Nowhere however is there any implication that we are absolved from our responsibility to care for creation.
What has fascinated me in the last few weeks is a contemplation of the thorns, the thistles, and the weeds that seem to be a part of the consequences of the human fall. Some of them produce the most delicious and nutritious food we can eat, as we can see in this video
Take the humble dandelion for instance. Its leaves are often used in salads. Its root for medicinal tea and its flowers in jams and jelly. It helps break up the soil and draws nutrients up from deep within the soil. It is an amazing and valuable plant. Read more about dandelions and links to recipes here
Then there is the blackberry which grows wild prolifically throughout the Pacific NW. Its fruit blesses us with delicious pies and jams. Every year in August Tom and I travel to Mayne Island Canada with our Canadian friends Tom and Kim Balke, for a few days holiday. One of the delights of our trip is picking blackberries and wild apples to make blackberry apple crumble.
Snails are another pest that can be a delicacy for many. Ironically some people love escargot and spend big bucks to buy them and the complain about the snails that destroy their gardens.
And in many Asian countries, tarantulas, crickets and ants are all considered delicacies.
It seems to me that part of the curse we suffer from is our inability to recognize the abundance and hospitality of God in the garden that is our earth. God is a generous God who invites us to a banquet feast, not just in the eternal world to come but here in this world too. Often all we need to do is reach out and recognize the gift and accept God’s amazing hospitality.