After studying the life of Irenaeus of Lyon, a 2nd century Greek bishop who is credited for spreading Christianity into what is now known as Southern France, I developed an understanding of not just his greatest accomplishments, but the tiniest of details that made his life so remarkable. It was through those studies, that I realized how closely his mission in life aligned with Keath’s life mission.
Irenaeus thought and preached to others that all of creation is a reflection of God. More specifically, he believed the earth to be the hands of God. Thus, when we are growing and taking care of the earth, we are, in essence, an extension of God. As a result, we are able to gain a deeper understanding of him. Moreover, when we work together, we become a living example of how God called upon humanity to behave around each other. Irenaeus’ work was the foundation for the Christian hospitals and the formation of specialists in healing and what we know now as medical doctors.
It was during Irenaeus’ time that farmers began working with theologians to find cures for the most common illnesses of the time. They believed the combination of faith and hard labor as they grew crops provided healing, counseling etc. While working the land together, people were able to transcend/heal as a community instead of just receiving a cure as an individual.
That belief is one that my late husband shared. Keath would not be born for about 18 centuries after Irenaeus and though the world changed significantly in that time, certain things remain the same. The earth is still the hands of God and Keath knew that one of the greatest ways to honor him and his great creation was to care for the land and to show God’s lessons through how we interact with one another.