Good Courage Farm: Death and Resurrection

Spring soil bears witness to resurrection


O Lord, maker of all things, you open your hand and satisfy the desire
of every living creature. We praise you for crowning the fields with your blessings
and enabling us once more to gather in the fruits of the earth. Teach us to use your
gifts carefully, that our land may continue to yield its increase, through Jesus Christ,
our Savior and Lord. Amen.  (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 62)

Spring is a season that reminds us of death and resurrection. The remains of plants and leaves from last year are decomposing. No matter our age, we are surprised with awe as tiny plants begin to break forth from the soil and remind us that life is an ongoing miracle. The tiny seeds and the plants always remind me that we are living beings, and not machines, we don’t have to be stuck in a hamster wheel of efficiency-pursuit. This whole planet is full of life including the soil. 

As plants grow from seeds, or burst forth out of bulbs in the ground, we are reminded of God’s resurrecting power and love. As spring arrives we are also reminded of our mortality. Especially those of us who are growing older and notice our body’s protests as we use muscles we haven’t used in a while, when we bend over to plant or clean up. The growing number of years make us treasure this season more and more, especially after we’ve lost someone close to us. 

Download a free PDF guide to accompany this blog post: “The Last, Best Thing” is the fourth of four discussion guides that includes questions and resources for faith leaders, small-group instructors, and individuals.

Pastor Kerri said, “I came here to try regenerative farming so that I could be reminded in my body every day of the truth of the resurrection, which is that death isn’t the final word because the land is constantly experiencing death and then by God’s design being renewed. And I don’t think that the destruction we’re facing with the climate crisis will be the final word on the other side of this. Somehow by God’ s grace, I think we’re going to come to a place of hope and new life because that’s what we’re promised and that’s what we see here.”

This year we had a really odd and warm winter. I wondered if the garlic bulbs I planted would come too soon and then die back in the cold of a late winter snowstorm and a deep cold snap.  We had a doozy of both snow and cold in late March. Yet, here they are doing fine.  

Soon, I will be planting seeds. This lesson always comes to mind as I am sowing: 

He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times. (Mark 4:3-8, NRSVUE)

If you have not had a chance to see the Rural Ministry case study video,  Regenerative Farming: Regenerating Soil and Lives – Faith+Lead  please take time to watch it! The final section of the video highlights “Death and Resurrection,” which goes from 15:46 to the conclusion. The whole video seeks to encourage faithful innovation, through the regenerative farming innovations at Good Courage Farm. Part of faithful innovation in God’s Church is the death of past practices and the birth of new practices that better serve the Good News we know through Jesus. 

At the farm you hear regular connections made between farming and the “patterns of death and resurrection.” The pastors point out that for the Franciscan order of the Roman Catholic Church, creation is also a form of scripture. One of the realities of farming or gardening is that plants come forth from seeds or roots, live, produce fruit, and then die off leaving new seeds to grow another season.

One of the gifts of the intersection of food, farming, and faith is that we are constantly reminded of the power and presence of death and decay. Which makes us more aware of the presence of the resurrecting and regenerating power of God’s love.  

The Nicene Creed has this confession we often make together.

 “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen”

Rural people and gardeners are often deeply aware of creation as the place that they connect with God. Spring is a time that reminds people to care for all their neighbors, including the plants, animals, soil, water, and people they encounter. Many other people share this spiritual sensitivity. We give thanks to God for God’s regenerating love and our many callings in the rich gift of life. 

Remember also what one early viewer of the video said, “Perfection looks different in the Reign/Kingdom of God… “

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do God’s will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in God’s sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.

Download our “The Last, Best Thing” Workbook:

Regenerative Farming: Death and Resurrection

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

  • Jon Anderson

    Pastor Jon Anderson serves as Director of Rural Ministry at Luther Seminary. He recently completed eighteen years of service as bishop in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA.

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments