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Good Friday and Earth Day Converge in 2011

Guest Author: 

alt"Compassion Mandala" by Robert Lentz, OFM

On April 22, 2011, Christians commemorate Good Friday, and Earth Day is celebrated. This is a day to cultivate compassion. In addition, the Jewish holiday of Pesach, Passover, is celebrated April 19 - 26, 2011.

In Quantum Grace, SDI member Judy Cannato writes about Good Friday: "It is easy to want to stand separate and apart today. It is tempting to want to divide the world into 'us' and 'them.' But this, we know, is an illusion."

Indeed, contemplative practice illuminates this truth--we are connected. Do you find this to be true for you?

Another perspective connecting Good Friday and the Earth comes from Care for Creation [a Franciscan spirituality of the earth], written by Ilia Delio, OSF; Keith Douglass Warner, OFM; and SDI member Pamela Wood. This is a perspective about what it could mean to take a "contemplative approach to our modern-day ecological crisis":

"If we dare to look and really see, we encounter Creation crucified--at our hands. This is truly a heartbreaking and terrifying reality, almost impossible to bear without the strong spiritual grounding that contemplation offers. If Francis were to walk our earth today, he would encounter for the first time his Sister Mother Earth, Brother Wind and Sister Water polluted and desecrated, the creatures he loved endangered and some gone forever. Francis never experienced this type of ecological devastation since it occurred largely after the Industrial Revolution, yet the way he lived his life can teach us how to contemplate such realities and then find the courage to act."

Additionally, William P. Brown and Stanley P. Saunders explain in their op-ed, "Good Friday and Earth Day: A Providential Convergence":

By a rare coincidence Earth Day falls on Good Friday this year, the first time ever. (The next time is in 2095.) “Good Friday” is the day Christians commemorate Christ’s crucifixion. Earth Day calls attention to the continuing crucifixion of our planet. While some may consider this chronological convergence a rude distraction from the Holy Week of Christ’s Passion, we believe the coincidence is providential. Both Good Friday and Earth Day draw our attention to suffering, death, and the hope of redemption.

Furthermore,

With Earth Day and Good Friday converging this year, a lesson is to be learned. It begins with the dawning awareness of a connection that has long been forgotten, namely, the indisolluble bond between Christ and creation. Christ, the Word made flesh, dwelt in a world made of flesh. Christians call this the incarnation: when God saw fit to become part of creation. Faith in the incarnation takes seriously God's creation.

Continue reading the one page op-ed, "Good Friday and Earth Day: A Providential Convergence"

Finally, in the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life article "Why Earth Day is a Jewish Holiday", Robert Rabinowitz says:

In the shema prayer, it describes both the earthly benefits--rain, fertility and abundance--for listening to the commandments and loving God, and the costs--drought and famine--for ignoring God's word (Deut. 11: 13-21). One compelling way to read this text is to think of it as suggesting that a major way for us, as individuals and as a society, to judge our actions and policies is by their environmental consequences.

Reflect

  • What is evoked in you from these insights and perspectives? 
  • What contemplative practices will help you honor the Christian teachings from Good Friday, Passover from Judaism, and Earth Day?

    Please reply with your thoughts.

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