Good Friday and Earth Day coincide

Published April 20, 2011

“In our indifference, in our callous disregard for the needs of all living beings, we have put the Earth upon the Cross,” says an Anglican theologian.

The almost magical confluence of Good Friday and Earth Day on Apr. 22 presents an opportunity for Christian environmentalists to ponder humankind’s crimes against the planet. And at this time of penitence, sacrifice and redemption, to reflect on ways to reverse our unremitting exploitation of the created world.

The Greening Anglican Spaces task group, chaired by the Rev. Kenneth Gray of Victoria, has compiled a “Good Friday Earth Day Reflection” by Dr. Christopher Lind. Lind is an Anglican lay theologian and executive director of the Sorrento Centre, a retreat and conference facility in Sorrento, B.C. The most telling component of this thoughtful document is the prophetic citation from Isaiah:

The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws,

violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant…. The earth is utterly

broken, the earth is torn asunder, the earth is violently shaken. (Is: 24:5,19)

In his Good Friday reflection, Lind links our environmental trespasses to our role in the crucifixion. “In our indifference, in our callous disregard for the needs of all living beings, we have put the Earth upon the Cross,” he writes. “Today is the day for us to recognize our guilt in perpetuating injustice against our partners in Creation and confess it.”

Gray links the despair of Christ’s followers on Good Friday to that of environmentalists today: “For the disciples, Good Friday meant that all was lost; everything they had hoped for was gone,” he says. And that is a common experience among both secular and Christian environmentalists today. “Among a lot of people who have done their part to change their practices and be better stewards, there is definitely an all-is-lost feeling.”

The greening task group has also put together a Good Friday liturgical resource for interpolation into the Good Friday rite of the Book of Alternative Services, as well as a short list of liturgical resources.

In one of the specially developed collects, there’s a petition that reads: “Give us the will to put to death our indifference to your creation.”

“That is what we’re longing for,” says Gray. “That’s what I’ll be talking about.”


  • Diana Swift

    Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.

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