Good Friday + Earth Day = ???

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?

But he goes on to explain how the two work in tandem:

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.

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  • jonathan perrodin

    It seems to me that ‘the groanings of creation’ in Romans 8 are great way to think about these things.

  • Charlie’s Church of Christ

    I’m not one for throwing blame around, but when it comes to “this earth is a sinking ship” and therefore care for the earth isn’t a spiritual pursuit I blame the baptists. I think the Bible has enough gardening/farming metaphors to that we would want to get our hands in the dirt just to better understand Scripture.

  • Brandy

    Wow. I think Jonathan’s comment above is profound and spot on.

    I don’t really have anything to add. But thank you for this post. Good stuff.

  • Michael Nielsen

    SO, the real question is should I eat lunch at “The Good Earth” or “TGI Friday’s?”

  • Craig

    Thanks for point to Romans 8. That passage is the crux of my argument in at the CNN piece.
    Thanks Tony for highlighting the article.
    In case anyone is interested, I have another piece up today at the High Calling.

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  • Brian

    Here’s a blues song about all Creation moaning for redemption:

  • Bo Sanders

    here is the Homebrewed Christianity interview that came out today:

    also on I-tunes.

  • Lisa

    I blogged about this very interesting intersection of observances on Friday as well. It certainly gave the day a new layer of meaning for me.