He has shown you what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8
Wondering what this oft-quoted Bible verse has to do with seed-starting and vermiculite? Let me explain. What DOES God require of us?
1) He wants us to act justly. At first glance, I'm not exactly running for the title of Leader of the Unjust. I don't own any slaves, I don't mistreat my (few) staff, I don't beat my kids - it's very easy to allow myself to believe that I am acting justly. However, my lifestyle gives another view.
When I choose non-organic bananas because "I just have to have bananas and the organic ones are gone", even though I KNOW that the workers in the non-organic fields have been sprayed with chemicals along with the trees, I am acting unjustly.
When I choose to avert my eyes from the poverty and injustice done in the name of creating my cheap clothes, I am acting unjustly.
When I choose to buy food from farms that I know are polluting the environment with chemicals, causing near-irreversible damage to our entire planet which causes desserts to grow in once-fertile land which forces once-prospering families to depend on charity or die of famine, I am acting unjustly.
(BTW, there are other people saying the same thing. In her Ecoholic column, Adria Vassil talks briefly about how our way of life is causing others to get very sick.)
2) He wants me to love mercy. To be honest, I like mercy. It's a beautiful thing. But to LOVE mercy? To believe in it enough to be willing to sacrifice in order to show mercy to others? Am I willing to step out of my consumerist mentality to LOVE those who have been taken advantage of by North Americans for years (ie the developing world)? How do I even do that? How do I love mercy enough to show it to those we have kept in chains by our greed?
3) He wants me to walk humbly with Him. He wants me to depend on Him for my very survival instead of pridefully assuming I can take care of myself. So I try to make gardening an act of humility. I cannot make seeds grow, or the sun shine, or the rain come, or the hail stop. I must choose to depend on God for my daily bread. For me, gardening is a small act of defiance against a system that says "I can have it all, do it all, and get it all, ALL BY MYSELF." Because really, I can't. I am one little piece of moss in a forest of humanity. I know that my choice to have a garden doesn't really affect the world. But my choice to depend on God in my gardening changes ME, and that CAN have an affect.