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A Lent Fast for the Earth 

This is the fast that pleases me: to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke…
Then will your light shine like the dawn.
(Isaiah 58: 6–8)

Lent is the time before Easter for reflecting on and fasting from the actions, objects, or attitudes in our life that separate us from God.  For many, it is also a time of renewal and reconnection, to our Creator and the great gift of creation.  “For the early church, Lent was just the opposite of a dreary season of restriction. It was understood as an opportunity to return to….the life of natural communion with God that was lost to us in the Fall.” [Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast]

In this view, Lent is a time to restore our life of natural communion with God, which includes understanding both our limits and the limits of God’s creation.  One way to celebrate Lent, therefore, is to practice practical ways of honoring those limits.   This Lent St. Stephen’s invites you to join a Carbon Fast.  Please download from the web:

 Why should we fast from carbon?  
Some reasons are:  carbon dioxide is changing the climate of God’s creation, our planet Earth. Most greenhouse gases are caused by humans and societies we have created. The largest component of greenhouse gases come from burning of fossil fuels during the generation of electricity and from transportation. Unless we reduce our emissions, the impact will be devastating for our planet, for its people – especially poor and vulnerable, for plants and animals that have lived here for millions of years. And God created this Earth, declared it to be good and expects us to care for creation and to maintain its goodness for future generations.

Reducing our carbon emissions, fasting from carbon, is a practical and timely way to put our faith in action.  

This week we are encouraged to examine and reduce our use of electricity.  
For example: shut off lights not needed, shut off electronics when not in use, let dishes dry manually in dishwasher, wash clothes in cold water. We are also invited to advocacy –raise questions on public usage,  join or support a committee that oversees energy use.

Caring for creation through our actions is important for our discipleship, and our spiritual growth. God created and saw that the earth was it was good. Everything.  “God’s plan in the Old and New Testament is to bring shalom to the whole creation…. Ultimately no one experiences shalom in its fullness until the whole creation enjoys shalom”  Randy Woodley, Salvation Means Creation Healed.

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures. 
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. 
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, 
that we may live as brothers and sisters,
harming no one. 
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the
abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in
your eyes.
 Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect
the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not
pollution and destruction. 
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain 
at the expense of the poor and the earth. 
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be
filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we
are profoundly united with every creature as we journey
towards your infinite light. 
We thank you for being with us each day. 
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for
justice, love and peace.