Fourth Sunday in Lent to Saturday (March 31 to April 6, 2019)
Creation Care as a Hopeful Spiritual Practice for Lent
Lenten devotional by Lynne Baab and Janette Plunkett. Illustration by Dave Baab
Transportation is a significant contributor to both climate change and air pollution. We make choices daily regarding how we will get around in our daily lives and where we will go on vacations.
Walking with Jesus
This week at least once, take a bus, carpool, or walk or bicycle somewhere you would have driven. As you do it, imagine Jesus right beside you. Try to feel your companionship and partnership with him in using the earth’s precious resources wisely for the sake of future generations. Ask him to use these small acts as a means of transformation in you.
Deuteronomy 8:7-10. Notice all the features of the land that God is giving to the Israelites, including the metals to build things. Write a similar paragraph imagining that “you” relates to you today in Seattle, and describe the aspects of your physical setting here that God has given you.
Job 38 and 39 display God’s power in nature. As you read the two chapters, ponder how it makes you feel to know God is so much bigger and more powerful than you are. Focus on both positive and negative emotions, if both are present. Bring those emotions to God in prayer.
Spend some time picturing the flow of people and goods around the world, such as planes, ships, trains, cars, motorcycles, RVs, bicycles, animals and people’s feet. Thank God for the transportation for the food, clothes and household items that are such a huge part of our daily lives. Thank God for transportation to see people we love, within our neighborhoods and far away. Thank God for transportation to work, recreation and other important places.
Grieve with God for a few moments about the cost of many forms of transportation, carbon and pollutants in the air and time wasted in traffic. Lament and feel sad alongside God.
Ask God’s forgiveness for anything about transportation that you feel God calling you to repent of. After you confess your sin to God, receive God’s forgiveness.
Pray for people who make policies about transportation, in Seattle, King County, Washington State, nationally, and in other countries. Pick one area of policy to pray for every day this week.
Pray for individuals – perhaps in your family, friendship circle, at work, at church – in the transportation choices they make. Include yourself in the prayer. Pray for wisdom, perseverance in making good choices, willingness to obey God’s guidance, and for joy in obedience.
Read Proverbs 30:24-30. Notice all the animals that are mentioned there, and invite children to name some of their other favorite animals. Discuss the way animals get places and the kinds of places they want to get to. Compare and contrast the way animals get around and the way humans get around.
Help your children notice all the forms of transportation people use, and thank God for each of them. Together, ask God for wisdom in using different forms of transportation.
Take a walk near a lake and look for duck and goose feathers. Notice the color, shape and the way they repel water. If you want to, make a piece of art out of the feathers you find.
- Air travel uses a large amount of fuel per person, and therefore releases a great deal of carbon. Low fuel airlines (Alaska Airlines is best) and nonstops are recommended. Until we have better jet fuel, reduce your impact by purchasing offsets. MyClimate has an easy calculator for flights and they offer offsets. An alternate is to donate the same amount to organizations doing environmental work that you think is effective.
- Carpooling can be a good way to build community and reduce carbon. Walking, biking, and bussing, even for short distances, reduces carbon and other emissions from cars. Avoid overnight package delivery, it’s quite inefficient.
- A TED Talk: “The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: Talk about it!”
- Brother Sun, Sister Moon (from the 1972 movie of the same title)
- “Justice and equity are at the heart of responses to climate change.” —Mary Robinson, Nobel Laureate
- Small Song By Luci Shaw (used with the author’s permission)