The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20-21

 

Weeds pulled during gardening.I step through the doorway onto the deck, down the stairs, and out onto the driveway, which is concrete, gritty and warm—almost hot—beneath my feet. It is the thick of summer now, and our tomatoes hang heavy on the vine, laughing at our inability to accurately predict how many tomatoes one plant will bear.

It is just the two of us at home now—only my husband and me. But we can feed our entire town with tomatoes and cucumbers and jalapeño peppers from our backyard garden near the driveway.

On lazy days like these, when no deadlines or meetings or other commitments call, I am most assuredly drawn outside—always barefoot, a dog or two sauntering or bouncing at my heels.

Without prompting or planning, my body bends low to the ground. My knees connect with the earth, my palms find the soil, and my toes sink into the land behind me. Nearby, a dog sits on her haunches to scratch an ear.

Weeds have pressed and spread and snaked their way into open spaces around the roots and leaves of plants we hope will thrive here. I reach my right hand out toward a single, spindly weed—near the point where its green tendrils meet the earth.

The warmth of the sun is a coverlet of energy around my shoulders, circling my spine, expanding through my hips, rooting my knees and the palm of my left hand and my toes behind me to this spinning globe, filling my lungs, massaging my heart, calming my thoughts.

I exhale, and gently tighten my grip.

The muscles of my abdomen contract to pull the weed from its place in the ground. I know there are tools for this. I know my nail lady wishes I’d wear gloves. I know the root of a dandelion is just like me: stubborn. And so, I bless it, even as I watch it give way.

I stay here for what seems like days, while the sun completes its arc above me in the sky. Rivulets of salted sweat fashion an intricate design across my skin, and mosquitoes land imperceptibly to gorge themselves.

I exhale, gently tighten my grip, and let the muscles in my abdomen contract against the stubborn roots beneath the ground.

I won’t get them all. And next week, when I find myself here again, there will be more of the same.

You understand that this bowing and breathing and blessing the stubbornness that meets me is worship. You’ve been here, too, haven’t you? After all, we are sojourners together, making our way toward one another on widening spheres of earth and breath and sun and soil and stubborn roots and overflowing bounty.

You know what I know, I am sure of it: We won’t get them all. And even so, grace abounds.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

What does this story mean to you? Did you breathe as you read it? Or did you resist?

PRAYER:

Lord, you are generous and gracious and loving and kind. There is no way to accurately predict the abundance of what your love and grace will bear. What a lovely thing it is to be loved to life by you. Thank you. Thank you. Amen.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Grace and Righteousness Lead to Eternal Life through Christ (Romans 5:12–21)

5 Comments

  • After reading this I want to scrap my inside projects and work in my yard. I love the way any work we do can be an offering and praise to the Lord. He is so very satisfying in the midst of the difficulties I have in my life.

  • This story is a beautiful picture of our work on earth. We are laborers in God’s garden on earth. We work and toil to rid ourselves of sin(weeds). Then, the beauty of our lives in Christ shines through in that beautiful garden. The garden has order not chaos, but we are always on duty to tend to garden lest sin(weeds) creep back into our life and mar the beauty.

  • I acknowledge you for your sharing and especially this story. I read with a smile on my face this morning, your words, which I look forward to weekly. Thank you!

  • Yes, and amen. I am committed to the possibility that everything is worship when done with a grateful servant’s heart. Thank you for confirmation. Thank you, as always, for the beacon your words are to me.

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