Happy Good Friday. Let’s remember what we, as Christians, celebrate on this day:
21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. [a]29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]
35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[c] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph,[d] and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. (Mark 15:21-41)
Happy Earth Day:
“Environment is all of America and its problems. It is rats in the ghetto. It is a hungry child in a land of affluence. It is housing not worthy of the name; neighborhoods not fit to inhabit.” (Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day)
As a Christian environmentalist, I feel it would be remiss of me to not celebrate both parts of today. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to writing this blog post since the beginning of Lent.
Since the first Earth Day in 1970, this is the first time that Earth Day has fallen on Good Friday. As one who believes that God calls His people to take care of everything He created, I think that this is an AWESOME holiday mash-up.
Jesus died to redeem us for our sins, but that redemption was for the whole of His creation, not just for humanity. In Colossians, Paul writes:
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Col. 1: 15-20)
In Jesus, all things were created. Not just you and me and the rest of humanity over the globe, but every animal, every plant, every grain of sand and dust. Every water molecule and gas atom. All things were created through Him and for Him. Jesus has supremacy in everything. And God’s fullness dwells in Jesus, and through Jesus God reconciled Himself to all things on earth or heaven–every plant, animal, grain of sand or dust, molecule of water or atom of gas–by making peace through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross.
If we believe that on Good Friday long ago Jesus shed his blood to redeem us, then, according to Colossians, we must believe he died to redeem the rest of creation too. So as we celebrate this Good Friday, let’s also celebrate Earth Day by remembering God’s creation. God calls us to be stewards of the earth, not tyrants over the weakest in His world. So let us now live like everything has been redeemed by Christ’s blood, because it has.