20th February:  Share a vegetarian meal between friends

One of the ways to lessen your footprint on the earth is to include more Vegetarian or vegan food in your diet. If you aren’t used to cooking vegetarian food, today is a day to get creative – google some recipes, create your own!

Share your favourite recipes with us here on Facebook using the #carbonfast2016 

And here are some thoughts to meditate on as you do so… Lent is a time of preparation for Easter.  Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus, confirmation of ‘God with us’, confirmation of life in Christ . . . from the beginning of time, through the life of Jesus as a human being, now and forever.  In the words of Sister Joan Chittister, “Each succeeding year, Lent calls each of us to renew our ongoing commitment to the implications of the Resurrection in our own lives, here and now.”

Lent is a time given to us to return to and, in penance and hope, reflect on the basics of our faith, to probe anew who Jesus is for us, who we are as children of God, who we, humans and animals – all creatures of God – are to each other, and who Christ is to Creation as a whole.

It is an opportunity for us to say again, ‘Yes’ to Jesus’ call for us to follow Him and an opportunity to review what it means in practical terms when we say, ‘I believe’.  Crucially, it is an opportunity for me to ask myself how I personally have been responding to God?  Have I been behaving in my daily doings and relationships in ways that help God’s will to be done on earth . . . or hinder it?  Have I made myself available as a channel through which God’s love and compassion can flow freely or have I closed my eyes and ears, hardened my heart and become an instrument serving only myself and whatever I consider ‘mine’?

As part of God’s creation, we are intrinsically in relationship with God and with our fellow beings – human and animal – as well as with the Earth.  The question is:  are we in right relationships with them?  This is fundamental to our salvation.  Our faith can never be a matter merely of what we proclaim.    Being in right relationship with God requires us to be in right relationships with each other as humans, with God’s other living creatures and with God’s creation as a whole – relationships lived out through what we think, say and do.

In addition to extra prayer and study of the Scriptures, a practice that Christians down the ages have commonly used to assist them in their reflections and self-review during Lent has been that of fasting.  Particularly common has been abstention from meat and sometimes abstention from dairy and eggs as well.  The reasons for Christians ‘giving up’ meat and other animal products have varied over time and from place to place.  Whatever others’ reasons have been, this is a practice that we as contemporary Christians might want to consider to assist our own spiritual journey through Lent in preparation for renewing our baptismal vows at Easter.

Becoming more aware of what, and how much, is on our plates and what we are putting into our bodies, can help to deepen our prayers for a world that has become radically broken as a direct and indirect result of our own brokenness and our broken relationships with each other, with the Earth and thus with God.  As Jesus took on the pain of this broken world, we too, as part of God’s indivisible Creation, cannot but feel the pain of others because we are connected to them all.

What pain is embodied in the food that we feed our bodies?  What lives cut short? What childhoods lost?  What natural pleasures denied?  What massive quantities of water consumed?  What toxins released into water, ground and air?  What carbon footprint the journey of this food from its far-off source to my plate?

And what is my part in this chain of pain and destruction?

Most importantly, what can I do personally, as a channel of God’s love and compassion in the world, to break the chain of pain, to eliminate the causes of such pain, to mitigate its effects, to stop the destruction, and to bring healing?  In what ways, no matter how small, can I work with rather than against God in restoring wholeness to God’s creatures and to all of God’s creation?

In local, contemporary Christian culture it is common for people during Lent to ‘give up’ something that they really enjoy – like chocolate or alcohol. This Lent, might an alternative be to ‘give up’ something that there is in my lifestyle that “hurts God’s covenant with the earth, with us, and with all living beings”2 – see Genesis 9:9-10?

Let us pray that, with God’s help, we become more mindful of our connection to all of God’s creatures and to the Earth through which God sustains us.  Let us pray that we become more loving, kinder and more compassionate in all that we are and do.  As Jesus taught us, we pray that God’s will be done on earth as in heaven . . .

This Lent may God’s will be done in us 

By Frank Molteno, One Web of Life (SAFCEI)

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