The whole earth... hmm, now I've seen pretty scenery in the midst of poverty-stricken countries, and I often take a look at the acres of farmland near my home and feel grateful that beauty fills the earth. But to rethink that the Garden of Eden described in the Bible, actually is a way to describe Earth, this was an epiphany for me! It makes sense and it also encourages my desire to find ways for humankind to do our share of joining in God's redemptive work. There are no borders, no fences containing what God has made for us to share, love, and enjoy. When God created Earth, it wasn't just a gift for Adam and Eve, but for you and me. Too often, in the part of the Garden of Eden that I live in, we've made the gift just about us. Instead of sharing the gift, we've claimed it as our own. We have exploited other parts of the Garden, and the people who live there, for selfish gain. We continue to destroy vast portions of it in the name of greed. I'm part of the rich, white, American culture that cares more about personal comfort than I do about the Garden. I want out.
Or do I? There are times when I'm just so sick of it all. Then I look at my new 400 thread count sheets and say an "Amen." I run late to an appointment and I'm glad I have a car instead of a horse, or just a pair of sandals. This world that we live in, that we've created, that we put borders around to keep out those who aren't "one of us" is a sickening mess. But it's still the Garden of Eden.
I ordered three books from Amazon last week. I'm remembering how the fact that I have the luxury of buying $37 worth of books is a extreme luxury that the vast majority of Garden dwellers can't afford. The books arrived in the mail today and I'm tempted to set aside all other priorities so that I can immerse myself in:
Just a Minute by Wess Safford, Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, and A Place at the Table - 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor by Chris Seay.
I live a life of mediocrity, wanting to make a change, but not secure enough to really do so. I live with a desire to learn more about how to eradicate poverty, but I do so from the sanctuary of my suburb. I pray that God will continue to create, grow, and produce a Garden of love and compassion in my life. And as he does, I promise to share.