Creation Time, Land Sunday
Theme: Land Sunday, by Keith Innes
Genesis 3:14-19; 4:8-16
3:17 -19: The relationship of humans with the land is disrupted so that work
becomes toil: irksome and discouraging (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:8).
‘Human wilfulness and human sin have in innumerable ways embittered
3:19 : The human being comes from the soil, tills the soil, and will return to the
4:8-16: As the story of alienation progresses, the judgment becomes more severe.
The ground is cursed because of Adam ( 3:17 ; compare 5:29 ; 8:21 );
Cain is cursed from the ground because of the shed blood of his brother ( 4:11 ). He has to leave the land where he is at home, which will not sustain him ( 4:12 ).
Even in our alienation, we are not beyond the reach of God’s grace.
“…the work of Jesus Christ has restored ‘those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness’ to their proper role as truly human beings… Adam’s sin and its effects are thus undone, and God’s original intention for humanity is thus restored in the Age to Come, which has already begun with the work of Jesus Christ (v.21).” Ref 3
The ‘new start’ in Christ includes the Church’s vocation to live at peace with the land, and so to bear witness to God’s purpose for humanity.
The fact that Jesus not only shared the life of earth, but was actually buried in it between death and resurrection, shows the extent of his involvement with our earthly home.
A report prepared under the chairmanship of the chief scientist at the World Bank has warned that ‘Because of human demand for food, fresh water, timber, fibre and fuel, more land has been claimed for agriculture in the last 60 years than in the 18 th and 19 th centuries combined. An estimated 24% of the Earth’s land surface is now cultivated.’ (Tim Radford, The Guardian , London , 30 March 2005 ).
‘… Mathis Wackernagel and his colleagues measured the ecological footprint of humanity and compared it to the “carrying capacity” of the planet. They defined the ecological footprint as the land area that would be required to provide the resources… and absorb the emissions… of global society. When compared with the available land, Wackernagel concluded that human resource use is currently some 20 percent above the global carrying capacity’. (D. Meadows, J. Randers, D. Meadows, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update (London/Sterling, Va. , 2005) p.xiv.
• Interact with the soil: grow plants and vegetables – in pots or gardens.
• Protest at pollution or destruction of the land.
• Support local agriculture, especially producers who nurture the soil.
- S.R. Driver, The Book of Genesis with Introduction and Notes (London: Methuen & Co., 1909) p.49.
- C. Westermann, Genesis 1-11: A Commentary , Tr. John J. Scullion (London, S.C.M., 1984) p.308.
- N.T. Wright, The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology , (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1991) pp. 38, 39.