“For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.” (Isaiah 61:11)
We human beings and all earthly creatures are so blessed. God has taken care of all of us with this wonderful earth. And we humans are able to manipulate the earth in small gardens to produce what we need and what we fancy or just plain want. This earth is the bedrock of all people everywhere. Maybe it is through the earth that we can make known to all people everywhere that God wants us to love God and one another, and to praise God and to acknowledge God as our universal Savior.
We are fast approaching the reminder that from the dust of the earth we come, and back to the dust of the earth we shall return. But perhaps not our whole selves will go back to the dust. Maybe, just maybe, the God-spark, the soul, the Spirit of God planted in us will ascend to the realm of heaven someday. But more than that, we believers are the garden of God. We are the garden in which God has sown goodness. We believers are the soil and God causes what has been sown in us to spring up before all nations. All we have to do is believe and be.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people.
The second point of the second star is Respect.
Respect is the decency component of Discipline. In our Baptismal Covenant we are asked, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” (BCP 305) We say that we will respect the dignity of every human being with God’s help.
Respect, like Discipline, is a two way street. Respect is what we must have for others and for ourselves. God loves us and wants us. Jesus died for us, every one of us. Jesus died for everyone that we have met or will ever meet, no exception. Respect then is so important. And here’s the thing, nobody has to earn our respect. All of us are made in the image of God. Therefore the Image itself demands respect. And so we respect those, even those who do not respect themselves. They don’t have to earn it; Jesus already has earned it for them, and for us. We also must respect ourselves. God can, and is, using us to do God’s work. If you say “God can’t use me,” you are not putting yourself down. You are limiting what you think God can do. The same goes for anyone else you may think of. The ability of God is unlimited and can be made manifest in you or anyone God chooses. Respect then must be shown accordingly. Respect must be shown to yourself and to all people for the potential power of God.
“Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” (From the 3rd verse of Praise to the Lord)