This month, we are approaching two national holidays. They happen to fall on the same day. But depending on your political, religious, liberal, conservative, radical, conventional standing, you may lean more towards one than the other, or even feel like you have to choose between the two.
Earth Day was instituted in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, it was a political initiative, intended to enforce national environmental responsibility, and this new holiday birthed the modern environmental movement. Good Friday is annually observed by Christians to remember Christ’s crucifixion and death so many years ago. To the church, Good Friday, together with Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, is the culmination of history, fulfilling Scripture’s promises that a Savior would come into the world and redeem it.
This year April 22nd hosts both Earth Day and Good Friday, and to many people, these holidays may seem to be at odds with each other. In my experience, Christians are more interested in discipleship than reducing their carbon footprint. Female ministers and abortion can be hot topics, but global warming? Not so much. Likewise, the people who champion green living march under the banner of sustainability, health, and animal rights. Talk of soul-saving doesn’t really hold appeal, because in their mind, they’re already saving the planet.
It saddens me that anyone would think these two ideals have to be pitted against each other as if in a bull pen. Because in my perspective, both holidays have to do with wholeness. Whole earth, whole redemption, whole life.
Eden was once whole, a perfect earth, perfect creation, and perfect humanity. God called it, “very good.” But sin crept into this good garden and fragmented it, introducing thorns and dry soil, pain and pride—toxic to both our bodies and our souls.
Good Friday marks a turn in our decaying world. A man who was God sacrificed His life for the world, and this set into action a redemption that would work both backwards and forwards, pulling this broken earth and its broken people into a new heaven and new earth. One day, the effects of sin will be reversed, and the new heaven and earth will reign in renewed wholeness. Christ’s sacrifice on Good Friday set all of this into motion.
Scripture says that creation is in bondage just as are the children of God. “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22-23).
This April 22nd, let’s groan and wait together, the earth and God’s children, the created crying out to our Creator.
Stephanie S. Smith graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Communications and Women’s Ministry, which she now puts to work freelancing as a book publicist and writer through her business, (In)dialogue Communications, at www.stephaniessmith.com. After living in Chicago for four years, traveling to Amsterdam for a spell, and then moving back home to Baltimore to plan a wedding, she now lives with her husband in Upstate New York where they make novice attempts at home renovation in their 1930s bungalow. She writes for www.startmarriageright.com and manages Moody Publishers’ blog, www.insidepages.net.