Dear Church family,
Our scripture today is from Genesis 2 verse 15:
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.”
There is a story that my mother’s family loves to tell about my grandmother. My grandpa served as a medic on a ship in the south Pacific during WWII. He and my grandma were newly married when he left and he was away for two years. In that time, like all other couples in their situation, they only had letters between them. The story goes that the day my grandpa returned home they had a celebration. Then early the next morning, just when grandpa was sinking deeper into the bedcovers to enjoy his newfound freedom, my grandma poked his arm and told him it was time to get up. She had scheduled two job interviews for him for that very morning!
As I have heard that story and even retold it myself, the reason has always been to joke about my grandma and how practical and efficient she was. But now, as I look at my grandpa and how he lived his life—committed to his profession until well into his 80s—perhaps the story shows who he was too. For he loved to work and he found great joy and purpose in doing it; maybe grandma knew it too and, knowing it, she also knew the best thing she could do for her returning veteran husband was to help him work again.
There has been a great deal of talk about our veterans this week as we have found ways to honor them. One of the most helpful commentaries I heard about this was on the radio. A veteran was interviewed and said something to this effect: “Parades are wonderful but we don’t need parades. And I know we are trying to honor veterans by having us board airplanes early but a better honor would be to ask us to help with security on the plane. We do not need to board at the same time as the disabled and children. We are not victims; let us lead.”
It was a powerful reminder of one of the first gifts we were all given as humans: the gift of good work to do. We often think of work as a curse but God gave work to Adam in the garden long before sin and curses entered the picture. Work is a gift and it is essential to being human and to being like God for God is always working too: tilling the gardens of this world in the lives of his children, keeping us nourished and helping us thrive.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of our veterans this week. Both for the good work they did in serving our country AND for the good work they have been blessed to do since. May this generation of veterans find the gift of work near at hand as they return home.
Prayer: God, you are a creator and shaper of universes. Your hand never stops its work in this world. We thank you for good work to do and for the ability to do it. We thank you for those who put their efforts and their very lives into shaping our country and we pray for returning veterans, that they will find meaning and purpose in the work you give them now. In your holy name we pray. Amen.
Christ’s Peace be with you all,