The dust of the Earth is a wondrous thing, for it holds the power of creation, the renewal of life is written in it. The Earth is a living thing, loved of its Creator who organized it that it might give sustenance to his children, and that it might also bless them with beauty, delight and peace.
As with all the gifts of God, there is more to the Earth than we know. Jesus was the very creator of the Earth. He knew its nature, he knew its destiny and he knew it would abide forever.
When he rode into Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, the Pharisees were angry at seeing the throngs of people praising and worshipping the Savior. “Master, rebuke thy disciples,” they cried. “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19: 39-40).
Did the very stones of the Earth cry out to their Lord and Creator as he passed?
We know that the Earth has suffered and mourned at the wickedness of mankind. Enoch, experienced this firsthand.
“And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the Earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying ‘Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?’” (Moses 7:48).
We can share an affinity and a comradeship with the Earth, for we, too, abhor the evils of the world, would hide our faces from them, and offer our own petitions for renewal and release.
Though he dwells in heaven, the Lord told Abraham that the Earth is his footstool, and he stretches his hand over the sea and the wind and the mountains, and all nature exists in obedience to his will — and to the impressions of his heart (see Abraham 2:7). Surely that great, all-loving heart was touched when Enoch wept as he heard the mourning of the Earth, and pleaded with the Lord to have compassion upon his creation (Moses 7:49).
We dwell with the Earth and upon the Earth. We partake of her bounties, of her storms and seasons. The Lord told Adam and Eve “for out of it (the Earth) wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19).
Our Mother Earth, as she is often called, cradles the dust of countless men and women, from the far-off beginnings of time, who have laid their physical bodies down into its peace. The dust of the Earth, as the wind disperses it like empty gray seed, is a part of the soil that has been released, and drawn hither and thither at will.
But more, so much more can be whispered in the voice of the winds, and felt within our own hearts. In the author’s note to her book “The Little Bookroom” the gifted poet and children’s storyteller Eleanor Farjeon wrote the following compelling words as she described the magic and wonder of her father’s bookroom where she was encouraged to spend her hours:
“No servant ever came to sweep from the floor the dust of long ago. The room would not have been the same without its dust: stardust, gold-dust, fern-dust, the dust that returns to dust the earth, and comes up from her lap in the shape of a hyacinth. ‘This quiet earth,’ says Emily Dickinson, ‘was Gentlemen and Ladies, and Lads and girls: Was laughter and ability and sighing, and frocks and curls.’
“An English poet, Viola Meynell, reflected — ‘But O this dust that I shall drive away is flowers and kings, is Solomon’s temple, poets, Ninevah ’ (“The Little Bookroom,” Oxford University Press, 1956).
Much of the symbolism concerning Earth and man has its roots in the midst of great, eternal truths. Certain places on the Earth, such as the grove where the Father and the Son appeared to the young Joseph Smith, are sacred.
It is part of the purpose and order that spring begins renewal, the miracle of re-birth in all his creations ordained at the beginning — which pattern was put in place by the hand of deity, before the husbandry of man.
The organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, under direction of the Savior, came in the month of April — a renewal of God’s authority and his Plan of Salvation upon the Earth.
Easter comes in this time of renewal and can fill our souls with the wonder and glory of our salvation through the power of the Atonement at the hands of our brother and Redeemer. Our physical eyes and our spiritual eyes are filled with amazement, and all within us rejoices, and yearns in praise of our God.
The Earth was formed with love. Adam and Eve were placed on the Earth with love. We, the Father’s children, walk the Earth upheld, protected and purified by love. We have been placed a little lower than the angels — and ought we not to walk this sacred ground with reverence and love? (see Psalms 8:5).
The true renewal is the renewal of love within us, seeking the qualities of charity, the pure love of Jesus Christ, which has been given so freely to us.
The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. And when she becomes “clothed with the glory of her God,” when he comes to stand “in the midst of his people,” we hope to be found standing — partaking of the renewal and sanctification that have been promised — as “all things become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:101, and 101:25).
Those have dwelt all our mortal days with the Earth, receiving the joy and glory promised to us — we, too, shall praise and rejoice.
Susan Evans McCloud is author of more than 40 books and has published screenplays, a book of poetry and lyrics, including two songs in the LDS hymnbook. She has six children. She blogs at susanevansmccloud.blogspot.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org