Lent has always been a special time for me because I use it to reflect on my time and place in this world and prepare for the experience of Easter. When I was putting together a two-minute talk to advertise a Lenten program at Hillhurst United, I read the first chapter of Terry O’Reilly’s book, This I know, a delightful book about interesting stories of successes and failures of various marketing plans by this CBC host of Under the Influence. For instance, what is Molson Brewing’s product? It’s not beer; it’s partying. Michelin Tires doesn’t sell tires; they sell safety: “Someone special is riding on your tires.” So, I asked myself, What am I selling? Is it a program for lent? What business is the church in? Some would say salvation but, being an evolutionary thinker, I would say transformation. So, I began my two-minute announcement like this:
Wow, what a week: Alberta budget, rail blockades, stock market correction and the threat of the Coronavirus. I wouldn’t be surprised if you missed the other big event that happened in our lives this past Wednesday when we slipped into another time and place in the rhythm of the Christian year. We are in the season of Lent, the 40 days before Easter. It is a time to reflect on our values of spirituality and social justice. It is a time when we Christians choose some particular discipline that will help us grow in our relationships of love – with God, with each other, with ourselves and with the Earth. Give It Up for The Earth is a discipline that can help us focus on what it means to live in a world where a climate emergency is real, and our response is difficult. There is a brochure in front of you that is an invitation to be a part of Give It Up for The Earth.
After connecting lent and this program I needed to connect the program to the listener.
Fasting has been a traditional way for Christians to reflect on the meaning of love and our relationships. I believe that is why most of us are here this morning — to celebrate love as a positive way to live and move forward. This card is both a postcard and an invitation to go to the website and find out more about how you can do a small thing or a big thing to Give It Up for The Earth.
Simple things like choosing to drive less, being more mindful of turning off your lights when you leave the room, advocating for some action on the part of the federal or provincial government. You can join thousands of other people who will be doing something small or large to cut back on our carbon footprint just a little, for the sake of the future of our planet, believing that life on this planet is sacred. That the planet is sacred!
It is an invitation and a post card: a post card asking the Canadian federal government to invest in a National Just Transition and Decarbonization Strategy and an invitation to all of us to commit to doing something that will be our part in a strategy for lightening our carbon footprint on the Earth.
Give It Up for The Earth is a forty-day practice of fasting leading toward transformation. Yes, transformation is a big word and participation is essential to saving our life on this planet. A climate emergency is the background of our life and our struggle as to how we will respond– especially for Albertans. We need to find a way to move forward. Choosing a physical and spiritual discipline is a way of saying, I care about my life and the life of my community. I care about future generations and the life of our planet, our home.
“Give It Up for The Earth”. Do it as an act of faith and a sign of hope, a light in a world of darkness. “Follow your heart!” Be one of the creators of our future. We don’t have a lot of time … so start today.
What are you doing for Lent this year?