Friday, March 21, 2008

Jessie: Good Friday - The End of Hope

From Jessie Dye, Earth Ministry Program & Outreach Director

If we were apostles or the woman standing at the foot of the cross on the first Good Friday, watching our hopes and dreams die a humiliating death in the person of our beloved Jesus, how would we feel? If the forward reel of the movie stopped at 3:00 on that dark day, those of us who witnessed it would grieve and stare into a grim and hopeless future, with despair as our only way forward. It is lost, it is all lost.

There are days, during this Lenten season and at other times, when I feel that same desolation the apostles and the women must have felt at the foot of the cross on that terrible afternoon. My anguish is not about the death of the savior but the death of the planet. I heard yesterday on the news that some scientists predict that the polar ice cap may melt entirely for the first time this summer, if it is a warm year. Coal plants are going online around the world at a rate of one a week. My carbon footprint may be smaller now than on Ash Wednesday, but humanity's is much bigger. Only a few endangered species will survive the onslaught of poachers and climate change.

And it is not just the tragedy of our commons, air and water and species, which breaks my heart; it is the horrible lives that so many of our brothers and sisters are forced to endure. There are children in Africa whose whole lives are lived on mountains of trash, girls who are sold by their impoverished parents into sexual slavery as soon as they reach puberty, boys recruited as soldiers before they have learned to read, made to kill their village elders. There is something deep inside me that cannot rest while others among us are in such misery.

In the song of the Stabat Mater Dolorosa, sung in my church on this day, I grieve with the mother whose son is tortured and murdered for his teachings about peace .A helpless rage burns in me, as it must have in the followers of Jesus, as others in my species torture and plunder as if it were no matter. It is unspeakable to me that oil companies are even now competing for mineral rights under the North Pole in anticipation of melting ice. The plan is that as the climate heats, the oil men will extract reserves trapped now under thick arctic ice; there is profit to be made in the death throes of the earth!


For so many reasons, Good Friday is important to us in these terrifying times. We remember on this day that things are not as they seem. The movie does not end at 3:00 on Friday, but the following Sabbath and forty days after that. Spring returns, the trees leaf out, and tomb is seen to be empty. I understand fully but I don't always remember the lessons that Good Friday teaches. On this day we pray the Stations of the Cross, and at the end of that road give way to the despair the disciples must have felt. In the ritual of the prayers we lie down in darkness, without the tiniest inkling of the magnificent dawn ahead.


Duscany said...

The world suffers from many problems and they all would be a lot less agregious if there were fewer people on the planet. We cannot support an infinite number of people on a finite planet. Everyone talks about our environmental problems. No one talks about the main reason we have them-too many people.

ex_teach said...

I agree that the earth cannot support so many people. Ability to comunicate with all people as well as educating them is a great hindrance to solving that problem. However,we must do all that we can to reduce our carbon footprint now to slow down the destrucion of the earth.

Anonymous said...

My prayer is that humanity can get beyond Good Friday and enter into Easter. Yes, Good Friday is a time to express our despair about the real possibility of the death of our least as we know it. But to stop there and wallow in despair, I cannot do. I see small signs of hope and, as we struggle heighten our and other people's consciousness, perhaps we can enter into a time of Easter where life is renewed and hope abounds. I cannot give up hope.