I posted this about 8 years ago on Facebook. — on Good Friday, 2011. I just reread it yesterday and decided it still holds up, so I wanted to get it on my blog. It’s just as pertinent today as it was then, if not more so. I’ve edited it a bit, because over the 8 years I’ve become better at writing this sort of thing.
I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about the number of Facebook posts I’ve seen talking about how awesome God (or Jesus) is, and how great it is to just praise him. How only Jesus can save the world. The confluence today of Good Friday and Earth Day got me thinking even more. I’ve seen posts where people say that instead of thinking about Earth Day they’re going to spend the day remembering Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. People even seem upset that something as secular as Earth Day would be scheduled on Good Friday. The nerve!
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to focus on Christ’s sacrifice today, but…
Two questions come to mind.
The first is, “Why don’t you remember that every day?” We’ll let that pass, because I celebrate holy days, too. Today is a special remembrance, beyond what we do every day. It’s appropriate. As human beings, special remembrances are important to us.
But the second thought is, “Why do you have to choose?”
Christ was very clear on what it takes to please him. Check out Matthew 25:31- 46, the parable of the sheep and the goats. It’s a pretty uncomfortable story for us, because the people who get into heaven (the sheep) are the ones who did something, not the ones who just said “I believe.” It’s clear that Jesus is interested in action.
Matthew 7:21 also comes to mind. In the NIV, it reads “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” It would seem that just praising God isn’t enough. It would seem that Jesus wants more.
Again, in his Epistle James says “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:14-18, NIV)
You don’t have to choose between faith and deeds. Why would you have to choose between praising God and caring for His Creation? The environment we have been systematically trashing for many, many years was God’s gift to us. Does ignoring it while praising Jesus make sense? I don’t think so.
Luckily, you don’t have to stop thinking of Christ on the Cross to think about doing something to help preserve the environment that God created for us. As long as we’re contemplating Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross for our sins, maybe we should think, “What can I do to honor that sacrifice?” Maybe we can do something today, no matter how small, to help preserve the Earth and the future generations that he died for. Something as simple as cleaning or changing your furnace filter — five, ten minutes, tops. Something as simple as recycling that aluminum can — a few seconds Something as simple as turning down the temperature on the hot water heater –thirty seconds at the most. Something as simple as not driving somewhere just because you can. Save the trip for when you really need to go, or walk, or don’t go at all. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Just intentional. Take the moment to do something.
I don’t want to speak for God, but I have a hunch he’ll be pleased.
Good Friday, 2011