The Gospel of Compost

“All my life I had waited for an inspiration, a manifestation of God, some kind of a transcendent, magic experience that could show me my place in the universe. This experience I made with my first compost.” — Bette Midler, when she was crowned the “Queen of Compost” in Germany in 1994

In honor of the spring equinox, let me share with you a wonderful sermon entitled, “The Gospel of Compost” by Holly Anne Lux-Sullivan, finalist in the CUUPS podcast sermon contest in 2011.  Holly shares her naturalistic and pagan perspective on life and death, and the messiness of both, using compost as a metaphor.

Here’s is an excerpt:

“The Gospel of Compost” by Holly Anne Lux-Sullivan

Give me your moldy, your stale, your sprouting potatoes.  Bring me that wilted, pitiful bag of salad you really meant to eat this time.  Bring me your bananas too brown and mushy even to make bread with.  Bring me your grass clippings and fallen leaves.  Give me the wretched refuse of your teeming refrigerator, yearning to rot free.  Give me these, and we will make life itself.

I love compost.  I love the smell of it, the feel of it, the turning of it, the piling up of yucky stuff to make something beautiful.  The first time I ate lettuce I had planted, watered, and fed with compost, I felt like Mother Nature her own self.  The miracle of compost is the miracle of life from death, of life and death co-existing — more than coexisting — needing each other.  It is science and religion wrapped into one big dirty rich-smelling pile of formerly rotting food and yard scraps.

In the Bible, the gospels are where the stories of Jesus’ life are told.  In introducing myself to the congregation today, let me say that my gospel is slightly different.  And it requires that I share that I am not, historically speaking, someone who likes to get dirty.  I don’t like to sweat.  I don’t like to exercise.  And if I can avoid being outside on hot days, I will.  I’m happiest on the couch with a book, preferably with my feet propped in my husband’s lap, and our two pets wedged in between us.

So my conversion tale is exactly that: the story of one woman’s journey off the couch, and into wholeness, holiness, and straight up dirtiness. 

Listen to the rest of Holly’s sermon here.

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