6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the homeless with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own kin? Isaiah 58: 6-7
Traditionally Anglicans fast during Lent, it is a time to prepare yourself spiritually for Easter. For 40 days we sacrifice certain things in memory of the sacrifices that Jesus made in the wilderness. People abstain from certain foods, drinks or luxuries. But is that true fasting? Isaiah challenges us to consider the hungry, the homeless and the oppressed – fasting should involve actions of justice.
We live in a world where millions are facing famine due to climate change, and where thousands lose their homes to violent storms, turbo charged by the warming oceans. We live in a world where thousands of humans and millions of animals have lost their habitat in raging bush fires, fuelled by years of low rain fall. When we read Isaiah 58 we realise that all those suffering the effects of climate change are our kin..
In the family of God , we are one body, not separate nations – there is no call to make our nation great at the expense of others. We are called to care with compassion for the whole family of this Earth, our common home.
Nearly 50 years ago the first men went to the moon. The astronauts of Apollo 8 took this picture of the Earth from space “Earth Rising” an iconic photograph which changed our perceptions of this planet. Rather than nations, they saw land masses without boundaries, and the thin layer of atmosphere. They realised that we have one common home, it is beautiful but it is also vulnerable. They went to the moon but discovered the Earth.
The first Earth Day was held some 16 months later, and today the image endures as a uniting symbol.
So this Lent we challenge you to fast for the Earth, for our common home and for our brothers and sisters impacted by climate change.
At the start of Lent we invite you to make a pledge, to reduce your use of plastic, to change your eating habits, and to reduce your use of energy and fuel. This are actions we take in solidarity with our ‘kin’ impacted by climate change.
Each week has a different theme – we look at food, waste, water and energy and challenge you to take actions to reduce our footprint in these areas. During the last week we encourage you to celebrate the wonderful gift of nature and to fall in love again with this Earth that we are called to work and look after (Gen 2:15)
The calendar with 40 actions can be found here : Fast for the Earth Calendar