It doesn’t seem that long ago that I used this letter to address the global climate emergency that the human race is being called to wake up to. Having checked, however, it was in fact in October - six months ago. Given that most of the scientific community was predicting that we’d reach some kind of tipping point in 2020 (i.e. this year) it seems reasonable to return to this most pressing of issues once again - not least because we have now entered Lent, a period that lends itself to self-reflection and even repentance.
If you’re about to put this letter down, believing that I’m now going to issue a Jeremiahesque message of doom and call upon people to don their hessian underpants and cover themselves in ashes, please bear with me. I’m not. For all that the climate emergency is a stark reminder that we haven’t always been good stewards of God’s creation, at the heart of Lent - and indeed Jesus’ life and message - is an invitation to receive and accept God’s forgiveness and move on in a different direction.
And this is where Living Lent, 2020 comes in. Living Lent invites Christians to gather as a community and journey together towards radical change for the climate. It acknowledges both that our lifestyles and choices have played a role in damaging creation and that many of us are desperate to change because we very much hope to see creation flourish as God intended it to. It then asks the all-important question, ‘So where do we begin?’ and offers some practical suggestions.Much of these can be found on its website: https://livinglent.org where people can sign up to receive daily reflections and commit to making some positive commitments towards change. Living Lent asks us:
- Could you give up single use plastics for Lent?
- Could you go meat free for Lent?
- Could you commit to finding alternative modes of transport this Lent?
- Could you reduce your electricity use by 10% during Lent?
- Could you commit to living locally this Lent? (This is about where our food comes from)
- Could you buy nothing new for the whole of Lent? (Excluding food, medicines and basic toiletries).
Obviously, we can each choose to tackle one or more of these challenges but the idea behind Living Lent is that, as we engage with the challenges, we begin to recognise that changing our climate is not just an activity, but a lifestyle. The good news is that, as the Living Lent community, this is something that we will share in together, encouraging and challenging one another as we journey through Lent.
Please give this your serious consideration and, if there is anyone who does not have access to the internet who would like more information about any one of these challenges, please do not hesitate to let me know and I’ll arrange for you to receive the information by other means.
With every blessing