When God gave me the vision of this farm, He told me to name it "Third Day Farms". The next day, when I finally got around to opening my Bible, I felt the urge to start with Genesis 1. Of course, I knew the story of creation, but I suppose I never really paid close attention to the order of events. So when I read the next few verses, it all came together:
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. - Genesis 1:11-13 NIV
The third day. The day that God created all plants and vegetation, the very source of life. All creatures are dependent on plants. Ok, this is starting to make sense... I'm supposed to use the name "Third Day Farms" because it reminds us of God's life-giving provision. Not to mention all the parallels between gardening and Jesus's death, followed by His resurrection on the third day, a reminder that regeneration requires death. Everything in the garden dies in the fall, things look bleak and hopeless as winter rolls in. And then, lo! New life springs forth, bringing joy, abundant life and vitality to all those who partake of the garden's bounty.
I kept reading. Later on I found this:
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
And that is when the tears started to fall. Dear God, forgive us. For forgetting our calling to be stewards of your beloved creation. Forgive us for twisting the words "rule" and "subdue" to mean "destroy". Forgive us for our blindness, for ignoring the ravaging and rape of your earth. For allowing horrible environmental practices to continue, all so we can save a buck or two. Forgive us for subjecting animals to disgraceful conditions so that we can profit from them. And I'm just as much to blame as anyone else. I didn't know any better. I never questioned anything, just blindly trusted every company and corporation. Ever the optimist, I like to think the best of people and see no reason to doubt what I'm told. How foolish of me. It was difficult for me to face the ugly truth -to admit how blind and thoughtless I had been, burying my head in the sand.
How did we get so lost? How did we forget our first and foremost calling in life, the command in Genesis to be caretaker of God's creation? I've studied and examined how we got to where we are today and it seems to me that it boils down to greed. Money has become more important than stewardship. Who cares if we are ruining the land, raising animals in despicable conditions, pumping our food supply full of cancer-causing chemical?. It's profitable, so why should we stop?
For the last few years, I have felt increasingly ill at ease. Uncomfortable, troubled, agitated, disturbed... and increasingly frustrated by my inability to express why. Then for Christmas this past year, I received a copy of Joel Salatin's new book "Folks, this ain't normal". I read some chapters with tears rolling down my face, while other chapters filled me with unspeakable anger, my body visibly trembling with rage. Somehow, the author was able to put all my indescribable feelings and thoughts into an organized format for the rest of the world to read. Finally, finally, I was able to figure out the source of my distress. Like the author says, our society today ain't normal. We have lost sight of what is true and beautiful, what is valuable and important. The lifestyle of the average America today is disjointed, disconnected, dependent on a broken system that is unsustainable. This is not normal. Reading Joel Salatin's latest book was my turning point and freed me from the idea of trying to conform. As a follower, I've always been afraid to speak my mind or challenge conventional thinking. Don't want to rock the boat, you know. Not anymore. Thank you, Mr. Salatin, for encouraging me to become normal, in your sense of the word.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah, Third Day Farms. So God, in His perfect wisdom, chose this name for our tiny farm and we are going to do our best to honor it. We envision a place filled with life and vitality, a place of abundance and healthy food. A place where we can embrace God's command to be a loving steward of His earth. Joel Salatin says in "Folks, this ain't normal" that "the first occupation of humanity was to be a gardener". We're going back to the beginning, attempting to get back to that first calling of man - to love and care for the earth. And you know what? It feels normal.