Sunday, April 20, 2014

Earth Sunday, Easter Sunday

We all know this is Easter Sunday and in churches around the world the resurrection of Jesus will be celebrated. Most congregation pull out all the stops and at Bridge St. United Church that will be almost literally so. Our 4000 pipe organ will be used to fullest effect and guest brass musicians will give make glorious Easter hymns schmeck -- that is the musical term isn't it? I will preach what I hope is Good News that death has been defeated in Christ and abundant life is our gift.

This is also Earth Sunday, although I can't imagine many congregations foregoing Easter to celebrate it. Earth-honouring congregations focus on Creation Care and the goodness of God's earth on the Sunday closest to April 22nd, which is Earth Day. No doubt some congregations will wait until the 27th but it will be lost in many.

It happens that on Palm/Passion Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week we were told that the state of Planet Earth requires immediate, drastic action:

A United Nations science panel issued a sobering wake-up call to world policymakers Sunday, warning that countries must make dramatic changes in their energy consumption, their use of technology and even their ways of life to avert the catastrophic effects of climate change.

"Sobering" is an apt word because it seems that we humans reel about drunkenly, unwilling to make significant changes for the sake of the planet and for future generations of all species. It is not a pleasant prospect. Even when we care we become paralyzed, seemingly unable to absorb any more bad news. Remember when An Inconvenient Truth jolted us with images of drowning polar bears. That now seems like a cliché, yet the threat is more pronounced than ever.

But if this a day of hope in Christ, not as "pie-in-the-sky" but for every present moment and every breath we take, surely we can proclaim hope for all creation. God loves the world, John's gospel tells us, and desires not its condemnation but it's redemption. Perhaps more than at any time Earth Sunday and Easter Sunday need to be celebrated together. And we can be God's partners in the healing of the Earth.