Our worship this year has been framed by a Good Friday that fell on Earth Day last year and a Sunday in Easter that will fall on Earth Day this year. (I wrote about this in the Toronto Star on Good Friday 2011.
I took advantage of this coincidence to plan an Easter celebration of Earth Day involving
- a new Earth Day liturgy
- an invitation to create a new sacred song (there’s been an overwhelming response!)
- fun, monthly Earth Day–related “challenges” appropriate to youth and others
- a live, interactive webcast to take place on April 22—everyone is invited, and no one needs to travel!
More on these activities can be found on the United Church Earth Day page.
A gift of seed packets has been sent to all United Church congregations as a symbol of our participation in God’s healing of soul, community, and creation.
Notes of thanks for the seeds have begun to arrive and are lovely. “What a wonderful idea!” Northwest Barrie United Church posted on Facebook. “If we all adopted the idea of this program how beautiful would our communities look!”
There’s a parable yet to be written about the experience of offering this gift. It begins with the extraordinary generosity of Mr. Bev Simpson, President of Veseys Seeds on Prince Edward Island. Bev was pleased to provide the seeds at cost—and even to print special packages! Then, when we sent a note in February to let congregations know that these seeds would be coming, some of you were generous in expressing your concerns and advice about what kind of seeds would be appropriate for your part of the country. We ended up consulting with a number of passionate sowers of native plants—including a United Church member who belongs to the North American Native Plant Society —and changed the seed mix in response.
To begin our participation in this activity, this Sunday’s gospel lectionary passage from John 12:20–33 sets the context perfectly. I especially like how Eugene Peterson paraphrases this passage in The Message:
“Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never more than a grain of wheat.… But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”
How better could one describe God’s love for the world in the movement from Good Friday to Easter?
We will plant seeds as disciples of the Risen One, reckless in our love.