This week I wanted to reflect a bit upon…manure. Yeah, you read that right. Manure. Over the last two weeks, a number of your Covenant Kin have been hard at work reviving the community garden. As a consequence, I have been hauling bags of manure that are supposedly “Odorless.” Let me tell you, my car and my clothing over the last few weeks can attest to the fact that there is no such thing as odorless manure! However, all this is to get at the idea of soil.
I have never been a great gardener, so it has been very fun getting to learn from people who are great gardeners about how to make the soil in these beds bring life. When we first started digging in to the old soil that hadn’t been cared for in about 3 years, it was parched, covered in weeds, and fairly colorless. However, as manure was added, and the soil was tilled, suddenly, once dry and dead garden beds started becoming rich with color and the potential of life.
All of this reminded me of Pentecost last year, talking about the power of a single breath and Ezekiel and the Valley of the Dry Bones. It got me to thinking about how God took this lifeless valley and breathed new life into it. Even more so, it got me to thinking of the second creation story in Genesis. God takes the Adamah, the top soil, and breathes new life into it. It is by the Ruach Elohim, the Breath of God, the Holy Spirit, that we come to turn soil—manure and dust—into human life.
Last night at the Bible Study, we got hung up on a part of the scripture passage for this week. In John 14:14-15, Jesus says something along the lines of, “Whatever you ask for in my name, I will do it.” Of course, that got us to debating about prayer, and how come some prayers go unanswered—supposedly, it says here in John that Christ will answer any prayer made in his name. So what gives? I kind of wonder whether the answer isn’t…manure! Often times, those intercessory prayers we make seek to make things easier for us, to deny suffering, to alleviate pain and hurting. All of those things can be easily filed into the category of manure. If we pay close attention to that Genesis passage, I think we come to find that the recipe for life is dust (us), Manure—so that we get rich soil, and the Breath of God. I know it is not the answer most of us want to hear, but I kinda think that sometimes prayers go unanswered because we need that manure to actually bring about real life. Either that, or I just want to justify the way my clothes have been smelling after a week of hauling manure for the church garden. See you Sunday!