God is Green!
Most of the Easter sermons I’ve heard (and preached!) focus on individual salvation: in Christ God redeems us from the powers that keep us from fullness of life with God. Sin and death are usually named first and foremost among these powers. There’s nothing wrong with that message – it’s still true.
But this year, as Earth Day is near, I am thinking about a broader, more universal salvation that God offers to us – the salvation of the whole creation itself. It’s not just human beings that are in a mess and need God’s grace and love to get out. It’s the earth, the cosmos, the skies, the rivers, the seas…and all creatures who on earth do dwell, as the hymn puts it.
Modern science has taught us just how interconnected life is on our planet. Humans have great power to use creation – for good ends, and for ill. The earth is pretty good at renewing itself: the cycle of nature includes life, death, and rebirth. In the last 150 years, however, the industrial revolution has put huge pressures on the ability of the earth to cleanse and renew itself. We need God’s help – now more than ever – to change and guide humanity, so that the earth itself can find redemption and new life.
When we read the scriptures with eyes for creation, we see it everywhere. “The whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now,” writes St. Paul, “and not only the creation, but we ourselves….” Human destiny, and human salvation, are tied up with that of creation, the earth, our fellow creatures. In other words, God is green! Think of that this Easter, as we tend the earth in the beauty of springtime. God is speaking to us. Listen. JBM