Field of Wheat

In an essay about developing the virtue of earth-keeping, theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson proposes three responses we might make in a program of extending respect for life to all of creation. Today, the contemplative response:

Sacramental theology has always taught that simple earthy things—bread, wine, water, oil, the embodied sexual relationship of marriage—can be bearers of divine grace. We now realize that this is so because the earth, with all its creatures, is the primordial sacrament, the medium of God’s gracious presence and blessing. It ‘is charged with the grandeur of God,’ in the prescient words of the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. More than just a stage for our human drama of sin and redemption, it is a marvelous creature in its own right, still evolving, loved by God for itself, of which we humans are a part. Therefore it bears intrinsic, not just instrumental, value.


—Elizabeth A. Johnson
“God’s Beloved Creation”
Food & Faith. Justice, Joy and Daily Bread
ed. Michael Schut