Prayer on the Third Day of the Week
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. – Genesis 1:11-13
When I gave my compost bin a spin today the door flipped open and a considerable quantity of its contents spilled out onto the ground, the decomposing remains of earth-based leftovers lifting their pungent aroma into the air. I knelt down to pick up this unexpected morning mess and immediately noticed its warmth – the compost bin was working, the material was alive even in its death. The power of life in the fruit of the earth is unquenchable.
That life of the soil has its origins in God. On the third day of creation he spoke to the earth and by his living word, his Gospel power, he brought life to the soil he’d formed and that soil brought forth plants and trees, ‘yielding seed’, the power to sustain perpetual life and growth embedded deep within them. On the third day, life sprang from the earth; on the third day, the seed in the ground sprang forth in unstoppable fruitfulness. On the third day.
As we come to this, the third day of the week, and kneel in the spilled compost messiness of our lives, we are reminded that we are dirt as well. God formed us from the soil, naming us after it, ‘Adam’ taken from ‘Adamah’, the human from the dust of the earth. Into us he has breathed his life, filling the soil into which he had already so powerfully spoken. Because of this forming and filling, formed by God’s hand and filled with God’s Spirit-Breath, we are alive. We who are formed and filled on the sixth day have our origins in the third day.
And so it is written, “On the third day he rose again…”. The Savior-Seed fell into the ground and died, rising again from the darkness of death – as all seeds do – on the third day. He rose in unquenchable, unconquerable life, his seed within him, perpetually bearing fruit and creating a harvest of life to cover the earth. You are that fruit, and he is in you, so much so that even when we die we live. No wonder he rose from the dead on the third day ‘in a garden’.
I kneel in my garden to weed the soil and nurture the tender shoots of a future harvest for which I hope. We kneel in prayer this morning, the scent of the compost upon us, knowing the decomposition of our lives, but also the power of the word and Spirit within us. We live because Christ lives in us – and the harvest will surely come, beautiful and satisfying, full of glory.
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