The following Ash Wednesday devotional piece I wrote for our college newsletter .
One of the things I love doing in my garden is composting. After several months with a bit of patience, I can make rich compost from my kitchen scraps, garden trimmings and lawn clippings. Then I have the pleasure of digging the earthy humus back into my vegetable beds or flowerpots. It is extremely satisfying to reuse organic material from my household and with the help of decomposition, re-enter it into the environment through more fertile soil. This enriched soil then helps me to grow more flourishing flowers, plants and vegetables. Soil and compost are so important for our environment, our care of creation, our food supply and it is also important in teaching us how God acts in the world.
This week our community at Pacific celebrated the beginning of Lent with a focus on Ash Wednesday in chapels. Students and staff had the opportunity to have dirt on their heads; ash put on their foreheads in the shape of a cross. This ritual act was accompanied by the words; “remember you are dust and to dust you will return.” Ash, dust, dirt, these elements all remind us of how vitally connected we are with the soil and how all life that has been created by God will eventually decompose and return to the soil. This was God’s message to Adam in Genesis 3:19 that he would return to the ground where God had made him. Composting is part of God’s plan for the world and shows us that new life, new growth, is coming.
The American poet and farmer Wendell Berry says that soil is Christ-like. Christ-like because it constantly welcomes death and turns it into new life. That was God’s point in sending Jesus to us, to show us that his pattern for the world is to work through death to bring us resurrection. New life and hope can sprout and flourish from what was decaying and dying. One soil scientist, after years of research, concluded that our soil is unexplainably mysterious in how it keeps on turning matter into new life and feeds and nourishes the world. Composting and connecting with the ground we live on is good for our gardens, our environment and for us spiritually. Getting our hands and heads dirty is not such a bad thing. In fact, it can be a God thing when it connects us with Christ who grows new life in us.
Have a blessed Lent and enjoy a garden and composting if you can.
About this site
"Meditations & Musings" is my humble attempt to share what I have found useful in ministry in an Australian Lutheran School setting. It contains chapels, devotions and other resources I have written, used and adapted in my K-12 school context. If you would like to also share your ideas, resources or start a conversation about mission and ministry in your church- school location, feel free to contact me.
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