from Earth Day Network
When we decided to offer the first
Earth Day celebration at Turtle Rock Farm,
we didn’t realize it was also
the Christian celebration of Good Friday.
We tried to change our celebration to Saturday,
but couldn’t reschedule some of the participants,
so we decided to go ahead with our plans.
As it turns out, Good Friday is enriching Earth Day
and Earth Day is expanding Good Friday.
Sneaking up on us
is a sense of surprise dawning;
and that is always,
the result of Grace.
Perhaps it’s an advantageous calendar
this year after all;
for, in addition to the sense of education and festivity of Earth Day,
there is now awe and reverence.
In addition to the solemnity of Good Friday,
there is now, awakening.
The first Earth Day was in 1970.
Having witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill
in Santa Barbara, California, the year before,
and hoping to propel environmental protection to the national agenda,
Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin,
tried to harness the energy of anti-war rallies at that time
to bring the problems of air and water pollution
to the public’s attention.
It was a “national teach-in on the environment.”
20 million people took to U.S. streets that day
to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment.
Out of the energy of that event was borne the Environmental Protection Agency
and the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
We have been celebrating Earth Day—
not only in the U.S., but globally—
on April 22, since then.
This year’s celebration of Earth
is especially poignant.
Not only is it Good Friday,
but this country is facing budget cuts
and attitude shifts
that could further endanger
the health of our Earth home.
At our Earth Day Festival tomorrow,
there will be educational moments:
solar oven-cooking (and making.)
We’ll plant grass and wildflowers.
There’s a prairie labyrinth to walk,
animals to observe.
And there will be celebration:
guitar music on the front porch,
and later, fiddle music in the barn for the contra dance.
As always at TRF, there will be sharing of food
(served in reusable or recycled dishes.)
At 5 p.m., we will dedicate
the straw bale and clay hermitage
we and fine friends constructed with our own hands,
in a lovely liturgy that combines
the awareness of God’s amazing, abiding care
for this wondrous blue planet
with the awareness of our responsibility to live here
carefully, thoughtfully, creatively—
in a sustainable, life-giving way.
Jesus of Nazareth would be/is (in another realm),
horrified at what we’ve done to his former home,
this planet Earth,
(God’s first revelation),
where he walked—mountain, lakeshore, desert, wheat field—every day.
On this Earth Day,
we are going to give thanks for God’s good gift
of good creation,
and apologize for the sickness we wrought.
On this Good Friday,
out of regard for the love shown to this world
in the giving life of the one
who made his talking points with images from nature
(lilies, salt, mustard seed, rain, moth, rust,
birds, fig tree, fruit, snakes, fish, weeds, grass, wheat…),
we are going to commit to do much, much, much better.
Then, like the “Lord of the Dance,”
we’re going to dance too.