Have you taken on the habit of reading a Lenten devotional for the next six weeks? The Church of the Brethren published an excellent one written by Guy Wampler. Many people grew up with the idea of giving up something for Lent and others take on a devotional practice. While the tradition of denying a pleasure in order to remind us of the sacrificial living called for in Christian living has great value, there is another option for sacrificial living in this season of Lent.
The National Council of Churches has an Eco-Justice section with several campaigns designed to help us restore God’s creation and begin to repair the damage that humanity inflicts. The NCC web-site states,
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” The United States is one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide. Per person, we emit 44,974 pounds of carbon dioxide. Across the world, people living in poverty who have fewer resources and emit less carbon dioxide will suffer the most dire consequences of a changing climate. Even within the United States, this is the case: poorer communities will bear an unequal burden of the impacts of climate change. The impacts of global climate change threaten all of God's Creation, destroying habitats and threatening multiple species with extinction. While ultimate ownership of creation is God’s, we have a responsibility to care for all of God’s creation—both human and nonhuman. And as God’s people, we have a responsibility to work for justice (Micah 6:8) http://www.nccecojustice.org/
Lent is a time when we can ‘take-on’ a new habit that will help the earth. We can recycle more, find a way to reduce our carbon footprint, or learn something new about environmental protection. If you have web-access you can find more information at www.nccecojustice.org and register as a member.
When a group of people, a congregation, seeks to discern the mission to which God is calling them ideally it should involve all the members. Some projects seem limited to people who are retired, or those with summers off. Other projects are aimed at young bodies and skilled craftspeople. Stewardship of the environment is one mission that people of all ages can take on. From age 9 to ninety most of us can change a light bulb, or put a bottle in recycling instead of the trash. We need only remember there is vital importance to our actions. As a Lenten discipline stewardship of creation aligns us with calling to work to save lives.
Currently, the Stewards of our congregation, are working on ways to make church recycling more user-friendly. For now, look around you and see what is sitting nearby that you might recycle instead of throwing away. Look at your lights. Installing Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs is one of the easiest ways to reduce your energy consumption and cut carbon use. CFL's use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last about 10,000 hours, close to ten times as long.
If we look around every day for ONE thing we can do, we will be ‘taking on’ sacrificial living and stewardship of God’s earth for our Lenten discipline.