Riding my motorcycle Monday night on my way home from the church in Seattle, as I reached Mukilteo, I suddenly noticed I could see tire tracks ahead of me on the pavement. It was dark, and cold, and wet. Still, I didn’t expect to see the clearly distinguishable path that the car ahead of me was driving. Unless . . . snow? I looked over to my right. Yup, there was a thin layer of the white stuff covering the parked cars, and on the sidewalk and up onto the grass. Snow! In Mukilteo! On April 18th!
Of course the snow wasn’t deep or too dangerous for me, even on the motorcycle. It was melting pretty quickly on the road, and I didn’t have any trouble riding in the tracks the car ahead of me was making through it. When I got to the bottom of the hill and pulled up to the ferry ticket booth, I said, “There’s snow up there!” My friend the ticket taker laughed and said “I knew you were going to say that.”
So this year, even though Easter is about as late as it can be in the spring calendar, we have still entered Holy Week once again with snow. In addition, this extra late Easter gives us the rare coincidence of observing Good Friday and Earth Day on the same day. For my pagan friends this will probably pass unnoticed, and for some Christians that might also be the case, as they focus on their respective holidays (Holy Days). But there are of course Christians who believe the best way to know the Creator better is to love creation well, who care deeply about earth stewardship, and for whom this co-occurrence of observations is a gift. I am one of those.
And anyone who has been paying attention to the story of the ozone layer, and climate change, and severe weather patterns, and also has some sense of the Christian story of the crucifixion of Jesus, might well feel that Earth Day and Good Friday indeed belong together. Both stories highlight the murderous effects of human greed and fear. Both stories seem to end in death. And both stories speak to the deepest reaches of our souls. And both stories need another chapter for the whole story to be told.
So this Good Friday, Christian friends, as we contemplate the death of Jesus, let us also say a prayer for the earth, groaning under its own suffering from human sin. And this Earth Day, dear friends, let us hold the awareness that all of creation is God-infused. As my friend theologian Bill Brown has pointed out, the phrase “Good ” in this Friday’s case actually comes from the old English word for God. So this Friday, Good Friday, is also God’s Friday (as are all days as a matter of fact), reminding me that, every day, the story of my faith turns from death to the promise of resurrection.