Last year Blessed Earth celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by hosting a simulcast event at Pastor Joel Hunter’s modern mega church in Orlando, Florida. More than 2,200 groups from every state and forty-five countries participated.
This year we will mark the day at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.–“the nation’s church” and the sixth largest cathedral in the world. Since President Teddy Roosevelt attended the laying of the cornerstone in 1907, the Cathedral has been a force in binding us together as one nation under God. Its gothic arches echo with the beauty of a people who bow their heads at the funerals of Presidents and inaugurations of its leaders. It is the church in which the Reverend Martin Luther King gave his last Sunday service.
To be invited to share a sermon at the Cathedral is a great and humbling honor; on Sunday, March 27, I will be reflecting on Earth Day in light of the 24th Psalm (“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters”). Please join us if you are in the DC area. A film of the service will be available on our website as well as suggestions to help make Earth Day a Church Day in your community.
It is fitting that this year Earth Day falls on Good Friday and that three days later the greatest dawn since the beginning of time is celebrated. To those who claim that the earth and the life on it are disposable–or that God cares only about altar calls and that He has no time for the call of whales–Easter Sunday reminds us of something quite different. God is the author of all life. It pleased Him to take the form of humanity and to dwell among us. He came to pay a ransom and redeem us. Christ reminded us that his Father notices every time a sparrow falls from the sky. He is that kind of a God–no less.
In the fullness of time, God will choose to sound the last trumpet. A theology that says we should force God’s hand by wanton greed or negligence seems dangerous at best. Easter marks the day when all creation held its breath to see the firstborn, the new Adam, the Messiah. This Easter let us renew our commitment to love our neighbors with extravagance and to care for this gift of God’s called the earth. Let us remember that Mary did not mistake Christ for a soldier or even a Rabbi on Easter morning, but rather a gardener.
Dr. Sleeth is the executive director of Blessed Earth and is the author of Serve God, Save the Planet (Zondervan, 2007), the introduction to the Green Bible (HarperOne, 2008), and The Gospel According to the Earth: Why the Good Book is a Green Book (HarperOne, 2010).