This year gives us a strange confluence of Good Friday and Earth Day, both occurring today. One might think that you’d have to do some intellectual gymnastics to find a connection between the two. But Craig Goodwin does it, without the gymnastics.
Craig, author of Year of Plenty: One Suburban Family, Four Rules, and 365 Days of Homegrown Living in Pursuit of Christian Adventure, has a post at CNN’s Belief Blog in which he explores how the two observances do have some synergy. He begins by noting that it’s an uneasy connection:
Given the sensitive nature of Good Friday, I think there is good reason to be cautious in making connections. In a popular culture that has a knack for seamlessly combining cultural narratives, it’s important to not carelessly turn Good Friday and Earth Day into some kind of earthy, spiritual, “Inception”-meets-“Toy Story 3” mashup. Instead of mixing metaphors and liturgies, I think the most helpful approach is to simply answer the question this coincidence brings to the surface: Does the death of the Jesus on the cross have anything to do with caring for the Earth?
I think a faithful reading of the Good Friday service of Tenebrae – in which candles are extinguished one by one, congregants leave the church in silence, and the cross is shrouded in a black cloth – demands that the church answer this question with an emphatic, Yes!
I haven’t always been so passionate about this, but my work as a pastor and my family’s journey over the last few years has changed that. Four years ago my church started a farmers’ market in the parking lot and more recently helped turn an abandoned industrial lot into a community garden.
Craig is at the beginning of what I think will be a growing movement: pastors who engage their congregations in issues of food-justice. His post — and book — are worth reading, and his challenges worth considering.