A catastrophe has occurred. We are no longer in continuity with our good beginning. We have been separated from it by a disaster. We are also, of course, separated from our good end. We are, in other words, in the middle of a mess." -- Eugene Peterson, from his book "Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity
Here we have the left panel from the Dutch painter Hieronymous Bosch's (1450-1516 AD) triptych "The Garden of Earthly Delights."
This panel depicts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Bosch creates a colorful, wondrous, fantastical landscape, filled with animals, including unicorns, strange plants, weird vistas. Here God presents the newly formed Eve to Adam. The man and woman are naked, innocent, secure in God's love, unafraid in their perfect world. Genesis 2:15 reads: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." (NIV)
Now, below, a photograph I recently took, of a construction site. The land has been scraped clean, as is the norm in Cedar Park, TX. The trees all gone, except for the ones at the edges of the tract. I've taken pictures of cactus in bloom many times in Spring. No more. The wildflowers will not return. The birds must find new places to nest, the bunnies new homes. The deer must find another path. The little lean-to fort, with the child's bow & arrow set have been bulldozed. (So have all the illegally dumped materials, now buried under the dirt.) The plan? This will be a self-storage location. We can bring our small and large bits of junk, the ones we just can't let go of, but have no room for, and lock them away here. This, I suppose, is Progress. Certainly, it is job creation, temporary for the construction guys. Then, a lone attendant will care for the place. But, I think it's appropriate to take a moment and wonder if this is what the Lord God really meant about "taking care of it."
And perhaps, to feel one brief second of sympathy for the birds and the bunnies.