When God commanded people to have dominion over the earth in the very first chapters of Genesis, He meant for us to take this very seriously. Our ability to be stewards over all creation, to care for all God’s earth, is but a testimony of our love for God and neighbor.
Psalm 24 puts it well: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it; the world, and those who live in it” (v. 1).
We here at Trinity Baptist are honored to have folks who care for God’s earth by way of farming, gardening, and even the creative arts. We recently installed a prayer garden that we hope to finish within the next few years, and ours has always been a family-friendly campus for all to enjoy.
This care for creation is not specific to our church; in fact, our county is privileged to have many stewards of God’s creation volunteering, working, and laboring for the beautification and health of our community.
The Master Gardeners Extension Volunteers of Rockdale County is one such group that is committed to providing a vibrant environment for all of us to enjoy.
Whether it is the prayer garden at Lighthouse Village (off of Sigman Road) or the one in Olde Town and the public spaces in between, the Master Gardeners have given thousands of hours to be stewards over God’s creation. We should be thankful and continue to pray for their efforts.
Yet, what the Master Gardeners provide in our little neck of God’s woods is more than mere beautification and a partnership with our world. It is just one avenue by which God’s justice is realized in our midst.
It was theologian Patrick McCormick who argued in his book, God’s Beauty, that creating public spaces for all to enjoy brings about God’s vision for a healthy, collaborative world.
Consider the price of beauty in most venues: One must pay to see beautiful works of art at a museum or to purchase a ticket to the aquarium or zoo. Entrepreneurs and corporations make a large profit by monopolizing those very things — from music to masterpieces — that others find valuable and enriching.
There is nothing wrong with this business model, and it provides many jobs. However, not everyone has the ability to afford ticket or concert prices. It has always been a part of city and urban planning to incorporate free, public spaces for all to enjoy without an entrance fee.
McCormick argues that this access is important for improving both community and inhabitants. It improves people’s lives and it allows families — children in particular — to gain access to something that encourages them to see the world as a positive, beautiful place to reside. It promotes ownership of our planet and connects us with something beyond ourselves.
That’s the Bible’s view of creation in a nutshell: A beautiful, well-tended earth is the stage whereby we worship God. Creation bears witness to God’s power and encourages us to look heavenward to He who created all things.
The Bible says, “Lift up your heads, O gates…that the King of glory may come in” (Psalm 24:7, 9). I am grateful to our Master Gardeners and so many others committed to creation care who help all of us experience God in unique and profound ways.
As a final note, I want to invite you to an event happening at the arboretum at the Georgia International Horse Park this Friday at 11:30 a.m.. The Master Gardeners are honoring late Barbara McCarthy by dedicating a tree in her memory.
It will be a reminder to us all of Barbara’s commitment to bettering our county, the Gardener’s work on our behalf, and our continued commitment to nurturing all of God’s creation.
The Rev. Joe LaGuardia is the senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, 301 Honey Creek Road, Conyers. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.trinityconyers.org.