This year Earth Day coincides with Good Friday. Since we are observing the Easter Triduum during these days, we will mark Earth Day on Sunday, May 1, with special prayers during the Eucharist. It seems fitting, however, to reflect on Earth Day from a Good Friday perspective.
We read from the prophet Jeremiah today at Morning and Midday Prayer. In his writings he laments the desolation of Judah due to the people’s corruption, idolatry and injustice. He draws a link between the people’s greed and oppression of the poor and the desolation of the natural environment.
“Take up weeping and wailing for the mountains, and a lamentation for the pastures of the wilderness, because they are laid waste so that no one passes through, and the lowing of cattle is not heard; both the birds of the air and the animals have fled and are gone.” (Jer. 9:10 NRSV)
St. Paul wrote: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:22-23 NRSV)
Our mission of caring for the earth springs from the spirituality we follow which tells us to use all things in moderation and only what we need. Benedictine spirituality leads us to form community with all creation and to care for it as God does. As we meditate on Christ’s death on the cross today, may we also contemplate how our actions have brought destruction to the natural world. May we confess our destructive behavior and commit to actions that restore the well-being of the earth.