Today is both Earth Day and Good Friday. For some people, Earth Day is of primary importance. Others are only talking about Good Friday and think that people who celebrate Earth Day are pagan nature worshipers.
But maybe an emphasis on the cross and on creation is appropriate for a day like today. In Romans 8, Paul writes the following:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility-not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it-in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits-we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? – Romans 8:18-24 (HCSB)
The cross brings hope and the promise of healing to all of creation. The suffering, the corruption, and the futility we experience in the world is a direct result of the creation turning our collective backs on our Creator. It started with Adam and Eve’s first act of disobedience but every denial of God since then has contributed to the mess.
The Healing Begins at the Cross
But the paragraph in Romans 8 tells us that there is hope. It tells us that creation is waiting on God’s sons to be revealed. It tells us that creation will be set free from the bondage of corruption. Creation will be restored. That restoration began with Jesus on the cross.
If we want to accelerate the healing process in people’s hearts and in our world we will proclaim the gospel. In fact, that’s exactly what we are told to do by Jesus Himself in Mark 16:15. More than recycling or eco-activism, the cross of Jesus is what our world needs!
New Heaven & New Earth
When we proclaim Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are hastening His return. When Jesus returns there will be a completely new heaven and earth where there will no longer be any suffering. Listen to the hope that we have when that day comes:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. – Revelation 21:1-4 (HCSB)
On that Day, God Himself will dwell with us. We will be His people and He will wipe away every tear. No more death, decay, corruption or futility on that Day. I applaud and join in the efforts of sustainability and responsible creation care but recycling isn’t going to get us to that Day. Proclaiming the Gospel will!
What will you choose to do today? Will you focus on the cross or on creation? Is recycling more important to you than the resurrection? Or do you believe God’s plan for redemption is that His people will go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation? What is our primary responsibility today?