| The comparison with rain and snow teaches us|
how effective the Word of God is.
February is going to be warm in this area, according to predictions. I was overdressed in a sweater yesterday afternoon. Bird food lasts longer at the feeder on warm days, because the bugs start to come and provide a more attractive meal.
The fun of Creation Gardening is making a small move and seeing the results from it For example, I knew toads were good for the garden, but Sharon Lovejoy's chapter on them in A Blessing of Toads made me realize how beneficial they are.
| Logs are birdfeeders, bird perches,toad shelters, and more.|
Fungus converts wood into food, and earthworms adore them.
I began to leave logs on the ground, to provide shade and food for the toads, instead of having the city haul them away. Pruning trees can create a lot of opportunities. So - one day I moved an old log. There sat a large toad - unmoved, unscared, unblinking. He did not hop away, perhaps recognizing me as his kindly landlord. Since then I have made a point to set up shallow pans around the yard, to catch rain and water from the soaker hoses.
I grew up with the idea of most insects being beneficial. But I had little idea about how many spiders and bugs feed upon pests, until I read Jessica Walliser's How To Attract Beneficial Bugs To Your Garden.
Lovejoy also wrote about them. I bent over the roses on a calm day, and tiny Flower Flies and Ichneumon Wasps working the flowers. Tiny does not mean insignificant. They feed on nectar and pollen in the adult stage but begin life by dining on pests. Some are eggs laid on top of pests. Others begin by being planted in pests. Still others hatch near pests and devour what they find.
Darwin found beneficial bugs disgrossting. How could a benevolent Creator have creatures eating creatures? That moved Darwin toward evolution, a theory already promulgated but one which he promoted heavily. I wonder if anyone said, "Mr. Darwin, creatures eat creatures all the way up the food chain."
When a bug landed on my car, instead of brushing it away, I leaned in closer to identify it. Sadly, that was the beginning of the summer of Japanese beetles - shiny metallic shells - destroyers of roses. As Walliser warned, I began to see the bug life as more dynamic than the growth of plants.
The Creating Word did not fashion the universe and let things run on their own. Every single living thing has a purpose, which is so easy to see in the garden. When our Army Ranger friend calls my yard a jungle, I ask him, "How many roses do you have?" He muttered, "You do have nice roses."
Those beneficial bugs and spiders protect the roses from pests, especially the devastating aphids, which destroy rose buds before they can open up. I had to learn this - Pests are food for pest-eaters, so let them imagine they are in charge, before the beneficials move in to establish their own families.
I got into higher education through computer science, because my first intentions were to enhance what I could do with publishing. Along the way I learned quite a bit about computers, enough to hold my own against 12 year-olds, and began teaching about them as well. The key to networking is an elaborate system of computers talking to each other, swapping information, and managing problems on their own.
Plants, bugs, spiders, and microbes do the same thing. They send signals that keep everything working, as long as we do not bomb them with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
Beneficial bugs fly to the rescue when damaged flowers send out chemical signals - "Help us!" The sounds of insects munching and sipping are another distress signal. Without this network, the beneficials would die and the plants would suffer. My task is simply to let the network function and not kick out the power cord that enables it.
How can anyone miss the fact that this relationship was engineered at Creation and is managed today by divine grace? My Almost Eden neighbor dumped trucks of topsoil on his lot. Soon after, the mounds were covered with a wide variety of plants, all serving to feed birds, bugs, and other wildlife.
Sassy and I walked onto the lot, and I thought, "He is not relying on a stuffed owl to scare away birds!" We approached the place where the large, unmoving bird was perched above the planting area. No movement. "He is going to have to move that thing to keep it working," I thought. I moved to the side - the head moved. My nearsighted eyes now focused on a very large hawk glowering at us, measuring us as potential food for his little ones. AE told us, "I get hawks all the time, because I have so many rabbits in the field."
This works as well in our little congregation with the world-wide footprint. We broadcast Means of Grace services, teach the Scriptures and the Book of Concord, and publish Lutheran materials. God's will and God's Word are the same, so the effect is always divine. Some are quite antagonistic about the Word and Confessions, no matter what their station in life. In this Age of Apostasy, the greater the deviation, the more influential the person.
The Reformation was long in building up, about 100 years from the execution of Huss. But the printing press, a remodeled wine press, made it possible to print hundreds of Bibles and works of Luther. The Word was effective in uniting the Gospel party and opposing the system of works and punishments of Rome.
Luther's only plan was to preach the Word as is. As Jacobs taught, the purer the Word, the more powerful it is.