Take good care of creation. St. Francis wanted that. People occasionally forgive, but nature never does. If we don’t take care of the environment, there’s no way of getting around it.
– Pope Francis
The Christian season of Lent is a time of reconciliation, fasting and prayer. It is a somber time of reflection leading up to the holiest week of the year and the joy of Easter morning. Lent is not necessarily about “giving up” something – unless that something distracts you from living in the moment and loving those around you. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, says:
“I would invite you this Lent to think about your Lenten practice as an exercise in solidarity with all that is – with other human beings and with all of creation. That is most fundamentally what Jesus is about. He is about healing and restoring that broken world.
“So as you enter Lent, consider how you will live in solidarity with those who are hungry, or broken, or ill in one way or another.”
It is a very appropriate time to consider our footprint on the Earth, God’s creation, and how our desire for convenience and consumer goods affects our neighbors in other places. In this interconnected, flat world with a globalized economy, “Love your neighbor as yourself” takes on new and enhanced meaning.
Here are resources for you, your family and your congregation to consider as we walk softly and thoughtfully into Lent.
- The Lenten Caring for Creation Calendar from the Catholic Climate Covenant suggests the spiritual reflections and sacrificial actions everyone can consider during Lent
- Here is a similar calendar with Lenten To Dos from the Prebyterian Church
- Earth Ministry offers a compilation of Lenten Resources and Devotions.
- Earth Ministry also offers a Presbyterians for Restoring Creation document that includes 40 Ways to Fast and Feast for God’s Creation
- The Episcopal Church Foundation lists resources for following a Lenten Carbon Fast.
Or discover Lent 4.5, a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. At present, there are more than 6.5 billion people on the planet. If we were to divide the Earth equally among all of us, 4.5 acres would be available to each person. But as Americans, we require 22.3 acres to maintain our lifestyles.
The concepts of Lent ring true for any faith. We leave you with this Celtic mediation on Lent, produced by the Methodist Church: