By Luke Gascho, director of Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College and professor of sustainability/environment
Reprinted from Advent Devotionals
It happened again yesterday. I was excitedly sharing with someone about the gardens and fruit trees at our home. I explained when and how I had planted and nurtured various parts of our landscape. It is amazing to recognize how the diversity and health of our property has improved over the last 15 years. All of this conversation implied I was responsible for all this transformation. I needed to acknowledge that I am only the gardener – and that the actual growth comes from factors and sources outside myself. While that realization is humbling, it is also the basis of my hopefulness.
Psalm 146:5-10 repeatedly names the One who transforms many desperate needs in our world. Multiple actions of generative healing are named following each stating of the name LORD. The repeated focus on the Actor who makes change happen guides me into hope and courage. It is impressive to see the ways that God is involved in making all things right. Verse five sounds the clarion call for us to be participants in these activities. The happiness of our engagement with the many needs rests in knowing the Helper who energizes the transformation.
Over the past number of weeks, I have planted many fruit trees, nut trees and berry bushes in some additional property that we have acquired. I know my role is the gardener who cares for the health of this piece of God’s earth. I plant with delight, hopefulness and anticipation. I believe that growth will happen and that there will be an eventual time of bounty. The orchard will supply food for many and will also be there for future generations. My anticipation parallels the multigenerational hopefulness of the Psalmist – and Mary awaiting the Promised One. My hope is based on the Source beyond myself.
God is my helper – the true source of my happiness and hopefulness. May it be so for you.
Psalm 146:5-10 (5) (NRSV)