together today [a biblical perspective on good friday and earth day]

Written by Mark Lafler

B.A., Global University; M.C.S., Regent College I am currently serving as a youth minister at our church in Sarasota, FL. I am married to Tera (15 Years +) and we have 3 beautiful daughters.

April 22, 2011

good friday, earth day

Today the sacred day Good Friday joins with the secular day Earth Day.

Good Friday is the day we remember and honor the suffering of Christ Jesus and his death upon the crucifix.  It is of paramount importance in the Christian calendar.  Good Friday along with Easter Sunday are the most well-known days of Holy Week.

Earth Day is celebrated every April 22nd across the globe.  It was started in 1970 in the USA to inform the public about ecological concerns.  It has become an important day for those involved in the environmental movement.

Nevertheless, these two days, the secular day and the sacred day, may have more in common than we may at first recognize.

Celebrating Redemption (and the Redeemer)

Let us first consider that on Good Friday we worship Christ by remembering that he died on the cross for the salvation of humanity.  We worship by reflection on the Stations of the Cross.  We read the passion narratives.  We recognize the purposes of our Lord’s death.  We drink from the cup and eat the bread of the Lord’s Supper – the Eucharistic meal of the Great Thanksgiving.

However, we do not worship the cross and we do not celebrate suffering for the sake of suffering.  We worship the person of Christ – Christ the Redeemer.

Celebrating Creation (and the Creator)

On Earth Day people across the world take time to plant a tree, a garden, or clean a sea coast or a highway.  Some environmental groups use the day to promote concerns about endangered animals, suffering wetlands, pollution and the like.

However, as Christians we do not worship the earth.  We do not celebrate a better planet for the sake of a healthier, cleaner planet.  We worship the person of Christ – Christ the Creator.

Secondly, humanity’s salvation and the “salvation” of our planet are intimately tied together.  Romans 8:18-23 suggests that creation’s future is linked with humanity’s future.  It seems to me that verse 20 suggests that creation was cursed as a result of the fall of man (Genesis 3).  From that point on humanity and the rest of God’s creation have been linked together by the curse of sin.

We also read in this passage that creation longs and groans for the revealing of the sons of God.  This will take place at the end of the age.  Our own groaning (v. 23) will be relieved at this same time.  We wait with an eschatological expectation of God’s full redemption of all of creation – to bring us back to the garden (Revelation 22:2).

Scholar Richard Bauckham writes in reference to Romans 8:

The liberation of creation is to happen at the end of history, when Christian believers will attain their full salvation in the glory of the resurrection (vv. 21 and 23).  Since creation’s bondage is due to human sin, its liberation must await the cessation of human evil at the end (The Bible and Ecology, 99).

In other words, Christians and God’s creation (the earth) are eagerly waiting for the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God at the end of the age.

So what does this mean for us now?

First, we might want to remember when we reflect on the crucifixion of our Lord that He died not only for you and me and others, but also for His creation.  God’s goal is to lift the curse of sin and the consequences that it brings off of humanity and the whole earth.

Secondly, we might want to recognize that although the earth’s “salvation” won’t happen until the future eschaton, we should still manage the earth well and repair the damage that the curse of sin has brought upon it.  Likewise, Christians ought to manage themselves well and allow the Holy Spirit to transform our personhood, even though the full affects of salvation will not be realized until our bodily resurrection.

Finally, when we consider both this sacred day and this secular day, we should worship Christ the Redeemer and Christ the Creator.  These two days are not usually on the same day.  Today, both “just happen” to be together.

10 Comments

  1. Nancy Franson

    Yes. I was fumbling for words, trying to come up with something like this to say on my Facebook this morning, then I saw this and linked. Celebrating Good Friday, waiting for all things to be made new!

    Reply
    • Mark Lafler

      Oh yes, waiting for all things to become new! What a glorious beautiful day it will be!

      Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  2. Wes

    Very insghtful Mark. Thank you for the post. It interests me a lot to ponder on the effect of sin on God’s creation as a whole because we generally focus only on how it has effected humanity.

    Reply
    • Mark Lafler

      Thank you Wes. You are so right that we usually focus just on humanity, which in my opinion should be the major focus. Nevertheless, God is wanting to make all things new. Praise God that He has not given up on His creation – we should not give up either.

      Thanks for the comments!

      Reply
  3. Diane

    Good thoughts. Instead of reacting to the “ultra-environmentalist” as many Christians are apt to do, we should reflect scripturally on this subject as you have. We do have responsibilities toward ALL of God’s creation…so Earth Day is a good reminder. Thanks for reminding us of that, as we celebrate our redemption through Christ!

    Reply
    • Mark Lafler

      Thank you! I agree that Earth Day is a good reminder for all of us as Christians to remember our command in Genesis to be good stewards of God’s good creation. Regardless of what others do in the name of environmentalism, we should care for God’s creation in the name of Christ.

      Praise God that he has redeemed us by the power of His work on the cross!

      Thank you for your thoughts.

      Reply
  4. Keri

    This is a great explanation of the true reason why every one, even those who ‘do not’ beleive are groaning for redemption and reconciliation, along with the earth, His Creation. Thanks for taking the time to share this. Linking up in my post later today. 🙂

    Reply
    • Mark Lafler

      Thanks for your thoughts… We all groan for God’s return whether we realize it or not.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  5. Andy Carlson

    I am reminded of the word stewardship, that we are stewards of all that God has provided for us…..the earth and all the fullness therein. As Christians we have an obligation to care for what He has provided for us (a talent?)….environmentalism?…..we are all therefore called to be environmentalists….in this world…to care for his creation. In this week of remembrances of birth, sacrifice, death, resurrection, assention and soon coming King….may He find that we have been good stewards of this great talent he has entrusted to us.

    Thank you for your encouragement Mark…..Happy Easter..

    Reply
    • Mark Lafler

      Thank you for sharing… Happy Easter to you as well.

      Reply

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together today [a biblical perspective on good friday and earth day]

by Mark Lafler time to read: 3 min
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