Waste and Plastic
Third Sunday in Lent to Saturday
(March 24-30, 2019)
Creation Care as a Hopeful Spiritual Practice for Lent
Lenten devotional by Lynne Baab and Janette Plunkett. Illustration by Dave Baab
Seattle Public Utility and the utilities in the surrounding suburbs do a good job with waste, but people often don’t follow the rules for waste disposal very carefully. In recent years, plastic has come to our attention in a new way because of the mass of plastic particles floating in the Pacific Ocean and the damage caused to sea birds and animals by particles and small chunks of plastic.
Walking with Jesus
This week, try to do one thing different in the way you get rid of waste and recycling. For example, avoid single use plastic. As you figure out what to do, and as you do it, imagine that Jesus is right beside you. What would he say to you? What would he care about? What would he smile at? In what ways would he encourage you? In what ways does he want to transform you?
“Our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things. We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy . . . [because] we lack a divine Center.”
Psalm 147:7-20. Notice all the actions of God related to creation, and notice anything you can see related to God’s emotions or priorities. Pray the passage, thanking God for all the actions, emotions and priorities of God expressed in the passage.
Read 2 Chronicles 7:14, God’s promise to heal the land. Hold onto that promise as you go through your day.
Spend some time in each room of your house, noticing how many items are plastic. As you observe, pray a combination of prayers. First, thank God for all the ways plastic makes our lives easier. Thank God for all the plastic items that you use regularly. In addition, spend some time expressing sadness to God for the ways plastic impacts the environment because it breaks into smaller pieces that do not go away.
Ponder those moments when you have been lazy about recycling, used disposable items when a reusable option was available, or have bought a plastic item you didn’t need. Confess to God anything that might be sin. Receive God’s forgiveness.
Ask God to help scientists and engineers who develop plastics to come up with more biodegradable solutions. Ask God to help people in government at the local and national level make good decisions about waste disposal. Ask God to help you be increasingly faithful at using and disposing items responsibly.”
Evaluate the toys, crafts items, and other objects around the house. How many of them are plastic? How many of them will biodegrade (wood, paper, cardboard)? How many of them are a combination of plastic and biodegradable substances?
Spend some time together on the website of your public utility. If you live in Seattle, use the website listed below under “learning.” Explore together how to dispose of various items you commonly have to deal with. See if you can learn something new and implement it this week.
Make an art piece out of produce stickers. (Did you know that produce stickers must be thrown away in the trash?) Example: Make an outline of something (i.e., flower, hand, tree, etc.) on a sheet of paper, hang the paper in your kitchen and when you peel the sticker off produce, put the sticker onto the page.
- Planet or Plastic, a National Geographic website with lots of good articles
- Drowning in Plastic, BBC documentary
- United Nations website on plastic with lots of information.
- “Where does it go?” is an excellent resource by Seattle Public Utilities where people in Seattle can figure out exactly where to get rid or or recycle items. For readers outside Seattle, you may want to check to see if your public utility has a similar website.
- Thirst by Mary Oliver