I was very heartened to open the Seattle Times on Ash Wednesday and see an article about Lent of the front page: Some churches are asking members to give up plastic for Lent. These churches plan to ask their members to give up one type of single-use plastic each week of lent, including plastic bags, plastic straws, bottles of water, and Styrofoam containers for food. This is an interesting variation on a fast. Are we even aware of how much disposable plastic we use in a week?
There are many ways to observe a holy Lent. Some of us will be observing a fast of one kind or another for this season of Lent. Giving up something that you crave is one approach. Another is to take on a discipline, like spending a few minutes in prayer each day, or smiling and greeting panhandlers rather than ignoring them, whether you choose to give them anything or not.
There are three dimensions to our relationship with God. The first is between us and God directly. The second is between us and our neighbor. The third is internal, seeking God within. Our Lenten disciplines can function on any of these levels.
- Do something to care for God’s creation. This could be giving single-use plastics or choosing to eat less meat in your diet.
- Do something to care for your neighbor. Make it a point to ask each checkout clerk how their day is going each time you go shopping. Put a wad of one-dollar bills in your glove box and give a buck to each person you see pan-handling at a street corner or off-ramp with the intention of seeing them as a person.
- Do something to care for your heart. Spend time in silent prayer once a day. Think of three things to be grateful for each morning when you wake up. Call a friend.
Choose something you can actually do. Make it fun. Ask a friend to do it with you. And may God bless you in this season of Lent as we prepare for Easter.
Yours in Christ,