Here is an excerpt from the Lent devotional I’ve been reading…
Our grocery store stocks strawberries year round, even in the dead of winter. We have an overabundance of everything. Every day we are told: You can never have too much; there is more, and you deserve more. The result of our overconsumption is everywhere to be seen: from melting ice caps to vanishing rain forests. We’ve reached the precarious day when the earth’s future depends on our self-imposed limits.
If we ever needed Lent – with the limits it suggest – it’s now. Not just our bodies and our spirits, our world needs it. In a world or excess, the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving seem hopelessly out of style. There was a time, to be sure, when these practices served a purpose. Fasting during Lent made sense because food reserves were at their lowest levels in late winter. Lenten practices helped the community survive. They still do. Something about fasting – limiting our consumption and restraining the excess – feeds our spirit.
I’ve been a vegetarian for twenty-three years. I’ve stuck with it, not so much because it’s healthy or good for the earth (although it is both), but because it has made me “more observant,” more aware of the millions of people whose daily choices – for food, work, school, healthcare – are severely constricted. It’s given me a greater appreciation for the energy required to sustain my life.
Best of all, it’s made the strawberry shortcake taste even sweeter.
Prayer: May the boundaries of the garden make us ever more grateful for the bounty within. Amen.
Whew…boy that one hits home. Here I sit in my cozy chair in my beautiful house staring at a huge computer screen sipping a steamy mug of chai latte. What a cushy life I lead.
To truly observe Lent I would restrict even more from my abundant life and the bounty I serve my family everyday at the dinner table. To be quite honest I don’t know if I’m ready to take on that big of a challenge. Baby steps.
As I continue to contemplate everything my family has I can’t help but think about the millions of people that go without. Part of me feels guilty for being born into this life of ease. What if I had been born in a country in Africa where I could not provide clean water for my children? Or grew up in an orphanage in Russia where the only way to get enough money for food would be to sell my body day after day? Or the only way of life I knew was in a country torn apart by a war that had been raging for centuries? What if, what if, what if…
The “what if’s” are too overwhelming and I have to fall on my knees in humble gratitude and thanksgiving.