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Commemorate Good Friday then Earth Day

April 22, 2011 2 Comments

by Ian Adnams 

By some strange coincidence, this year Good Friday, the day Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ for the salvation of humanity, is also Earth Day, the day environmentally-minded people encourage us to focus on ways to preserve God’s creation.

The lead-up to Earth Day included a report that the government of Bolivia was set to present the United Nations with a resolution to enshrine “Mother Earth” with the same rights as humans. Apparently, this is already the case in Bolivia. The goal is to guard against further violence against nature.

As Christians we have no argument with protecting the environment because God has given us that responsibility. The difficulty arises when the created Earth becomes the object of worship and infused with an unreserved sanctity.

For those who live within an evolutionary, big-bang framework and who do not believe in the Creator God, the decay of earth’s environment signifies the potential end to all they have and believe in. There is nothing beyond a current existence. And for others, the environment is a convenient vehicle for a political agenda.

The real situation in the earth’s history and future is tied into the reason for Good Friday.

Our first parents disobeyed God and in so doing set all creation into decay and severed the human soul’s relationship with God. Before this calamitous event, God gave Adam the responsibility to care for and manage Creation. The Fall meant that Adam and his descendents (ie us!) would wage a constant battle between what is needed to survive and thrive versus being a sound manager of God’s creation. On top of all this, our natural inclination is to do that which serves our selfish interests first.

The only way to keep things balanced is if our focus is on others (our neighbour). And that’s not natural. But all that changes because of Good Friday.

On that day, Jesus Christ took upon Himself our selfishness, pride, thoughtlessness and all our sins which separate us from God to repair our relationship with the Creator. Punished for our sins, Jesus Christ rose from the dead in victory over death. God didn’t have to let this happen, but His love for humankind is so great, He willingly sacrificed His own Son so that whoever believed in Him wouldn’t die, but have eternal life. We accept this gracious gift by faith, we don’t earn it.

However, our relationship to the creation is not changed. We still live with the consequences of the Fall. On a spiritual level we believe what St. Paul writes to the Christians in Rome: “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” As for the earth, the wages of the original sin is death, but God’s gift of a new earth must wait until Jesus returns.

In the meantime we are still caretakers. Our motivation for our stewardship is not based on preserving Earth because it’s all we have, but rather taking care of things as a way of serving our neighbour. God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place. We in turn reflect that love in our actions. It’s a sacrificial love that looks out for those around us. It includes taking steps to ensure our environment is not compromised and made unlivable, not because it’s sacred, but because it’s a sacred trust given to us by God.

Good Friday and Earth Day—in that order. They are not mutually exclusive, but the second flows from the first.

Ian Adnams is editor of www.canadianlutheran.ca


  • Canadian Lutheran Online » Blog Archive » Commemorate Good Friday … - Christian IBD said:

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  • Lisa Smilek said:

    I have to say that I disagree that we should be celebrating Earth Day at all when it falls on Good Friday. We choose never to celebrate Earth Day b/c inevitably it involves a lot of Mother Earth worship and Native Spirituality. Take care of God’s creation – yes, celebrate a day for the earth – no.

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