Being outdoors is one of the ways I often most experience God. Nothing is expected of me as I observe the fuzzy red buds that have fallen to the ground as maple trees pop out their tiny green leaves. I can simply enjoy the smell of a cold stream carrying along the debris of decaying leaves, rainwater and dirt. It feels like a miracle, albeit ordinary seeing purple hyacinths sprout out of the somewhat still frozen ground and bloom into rich fragrant blossoms whose smell is carried along in the windy April days.
Last year when it dawned on me that Good Friday and Earth Day are both being celebrated on the same day the words of Romans 8 sprang to mind; “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed…groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time”
In the midst of all the glory and beauty that God has given us in this world, there is still a lot that is pretty messed up. What does God think of us and the earth he created as he sees oil spills in the gulf of Mexico, companies trying to absolve themselves of the responsibility, and 34 Million tons of food waste generated in the U.S. alone each year while many around the world go without? What does he see as the speed of life and technology seems only to increase, often making us feel more distanced from people and from God?
In the darkness of Good Friday we reflect on when Jesus was unjustly hung on a cross to die for the sins we have committed against God, people and his creation itself. We recognize the horror of what it would mean to live without the hope of a resurrected Lord, unable to save us from self-inflicted, man-made hell here on earth and in the afterlife. It’s not just our relationships that are affected by this reality- it’s the implications of what it means for the world we live in as well.
Good Friday is all about waiting in the tension of what is in light of what God has promised to do through Jesus. Romans 8 continues on to say “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”
I’m thankful to serve a God who not only cares about healing and transforming all people, but using all of his people to restore his creation into glory and freedom. I am amazed that God in his power can simultaneously care enough for a broken individual in darkness even as he works to heal this beautiful yet broken world!