Before the greenery broke through the face of the dirt,
Before we sent the water flying from the clouds,
As a mist hung over the canvas of creation,
We bent low, cupped our hands around the earth,
We shaped and scraped, molded and embossed,
Until we had him, this earth-made image,
Set silent in our invisible hands.
We breathed deeply, filled the inhalation with hope,
And exhaled into the tiny holes on his face (yes—we made a face).
Then and there he became one of the living.
Then and there he became our walking image.
We put him in a garden we had planted—the first garden.
He would touch his hands to the earth, to till and tamp,
To plant and protect, to shelter and care.
He would be marked with soil that encased his own soul.
And we called the trees out of the ground,
Like great hands offering him their colored, shaped, and textured goodness.
There also we put two trees: both of them paths:
One an ascent to greater glory, and the other a descent to . . . darkness.
I don’t think often of where I came from.
To have a heritage of dirt does not seem so glorious.
But you made the earth good. You made the ground.
You called it up out of the seas and saw it.
And from the moldable, smearing soil,
From the cool and calming sediment,
You put me in your hold hands . . . and began to move.
Your movement made me.
Your breath gave me breath.
You, as life itself, gave me life to live in you.
It is no small thing to be made of holy dirt
And shaped by holy hands.
Thank you, my providential potter.
And to think that you made me a gardener
After your own heart . . .
The trees, I think, have open hands.
I’m sorry that mine are closed so often,
That I’m always more eager to take than give,
To wear the garment of blessing.
Make me a giving gardener, Lord.
As for the two great trees,
You know we chose the wrong one.
We did not trust you.
Even after you have given your own Son,
We still fail to trust you.
We trust other things, things we can see.
Oh God, build our faith in your speech,
That one thing that offers eternity
And always will.
What do you say?