A Different Kind of Lent
The following piece was written for our monthly Environmental Stewardship newsletter. If you are interested in receiving these emails, please subscribe here. For more information on our Enviornmental Stewardship committee, check out their web page.
It’s part of human nature to want to be in community with other people. Most of us would have to admit that going to church is, at least in part, a social activity. While everyone has his or her own introspective side, the urge to share life with others is strong. We are meant to look outward, and not just inward.
These days, looking inward has taken on a new, often anxiety-producing, meaning. We are advised not to gather, not to get together, not to commune with others. So, we are staying closer to home, eschewing society, finding ourselves faced with alarming incentives to forego that human impetus to be with friends, colleagues, sometimes family members. We are trying to keep ourselves and others safe from COVID-19.
It’s notable, and perhaps ironic, that this unexpected state of the world coincides with Lent and with the coming of spring in our hemisphere. Lent is traditionally a time for reflection, repentance, and looking into ourselves in an unflinching way. During Lent, we are supposed to take the time and effort to turn inward. In today’s unsettled conditions, incongruously that may be easier to do. We have the opportunity to deepen our engagement with the tenets of Lent.
But Lent also comes with the gift of renewal. At the same time we are looking inside, spring is manifesting itself gloriously outside. Nature doesn’t stop. Neither does our commitment to care of creation. These times can provide the opportunity to strengthen our resolve to further our stewardship of the environment. Maybe it’s time to plan future holy hikes, think of good locations for a pollinator garden, look forward to an energy audit. The environment is a gift that requires nurturing, and this is an excellent challenge to come up with ways to strengthen that relationship.
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