It is mid-April we are starting to think seriously about spring!
We also start to think about Earth Day, which is on April 22nd. There is also Arbor Day which is also in April. Some fun facts about these two important days:
The first Earth Day was on April 22nd, 1970. It really began the environmental movement and pre-dates even the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, it was the catalyst for that agency.
The first Earth Day brought people together, in an organized way, for the first time to care about the environment.
I’ve always wondered why it was always on April 22nd. Turns out, that date was suggested by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 because it corresponded with Spring Break for colleges and he wanted as many people as possible available to go to rallies and marches.
Arbor Day is much older. It began in 1872, not long after the Civil War. It began in Nebraska where the Board of Agriculture wanted people’s help in repopulating trees in that state.
Fifteen years later, is was a national day to do the same thing everywhere.
The day in April for Arbor Day is decided by each state based on their climate for planting trees. Most states have folded it together with Earth Day on the 22nd.
The UCC has long sought to uplift Earth Day as a way to move our environmental ministries forward. This year, though, there seems to be a special emphasis on Arbor Day, too. Why?
For biblical reasons really. The church is encouraging tree planting as a means of building hope. Planting a tree is a proclamation of trust in the future.
That’s really important during this pandemic.
In the bible, trees represent life, healing, and hope. As the Book of Psalms begins, trees symbolize hope for the faithful.
Those who hold fast to the life of faith “are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.”
So during this pandemic, members of the UCC are making plans to plant trees in backyards and balcony pots in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and in recognition of Arbor Day as well.
I want to encourage you to do the same. Garden centers, it turns out, are still open for curbside orders.
Now, you may not be in a position to plant a tree, but think about planting something. It could be a tree or a bush or it could be a simple house plant (those are often available in the grocery store too).
It is very satisfying to plant something because you are participating in new life. You are nurturing something that will grow. You are investing in the future. You are making a statement about your trust in God and in the days ahead. It is a wonderful activity for kids as well!
If you chose to do this and would like to forward the church office a picture of what you have planted, we’d be happy to include it in the Messenger.
Give it some thought. It is something that will not only brighten your day, but can also be a prayerful act of faith as well.