“If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments and the Lord will bestow it on you. For fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction, and what pleases Him is faithfulness and gentleness.” (Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira) 1:26&27).
On Wednesday Lent begins, and we enter a time of preparation for Easter. This is a critical season in our liturgical year and over the next five weeks our intention is to re-order our lives.
Fasting is a key component of prayer and its intention is not merely self-denial – but it is denial of our natural inclinations in favour of obedience to God. It is a purposefully consideration of that which we take for granted.
Our Lent Fast this year ( #FAST4EARTH) focuses on reordering the way that we live in the world and our allegiance to the idolatry of this age which is consumerism. When we read scripture, we can see how clear it is that we are to trust God and rely on God and on Him only, but we fail to see that the consumerist mindset is the idolatry of our day. Our first three days involve a pledge to rethink our use of plastic, our consumption of red meat and our energy usage. The full forty day fast is included as an insert in the pew leaflet.
A. Plastic – Toti has a current campaign to address the plastic pollution problem. You can support this program by sorting your recyclable materials and bringing the plastics to the Church (which will act as a Temporary Collection point). All these recyclable materials will then be processed. In time permanent collection systems will be set up. Please separate the lids from the bottles and rinse all your plastics before bringing them. If anyone is doing ecobricks you may drop them off at the church too. We will provide more information on the Facebook page and notice boards.
B. Reduction in Red Meat Consumption – Fasting red meat is an age-old tradition, but I am personally not convinced of the information that is being circulated about this issue at present. But this gives us an opportunity to prayerfully journey with this issue. I admit that in America there is a major problem with Red Meat production and although we must not just project their issues into our context, we do need to journey with the issues. I welcome dialogue.
C. Reduce energy and fuel use – this is an absolute necessity and I pray that this Lent you will find some lasting and permanent lifestyle adjustments to reduce your energy use.
I remind you that fasting is not an act of self-deprivation, it is a reordering of your actions to correct bad behaviors, misuse, and abuse of the gifts that God has given us.
On the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of April we will be running three consecutive “quiet days” (07h00 -17h00) and learning about Benedictine Spirituality. The days will consist of worship, Contemplative Prayer and work and the focus is on reordering your life to bring balance and peace. The “Retreat is free, but participants will be required to provide towards the daily lunch (which we will make together). I really encourage you to sign up for this eye-opening experience of the Life that God wants us to lead. (Signup sheets are on the Notice Board).
Please continue to pray fervently for our Diocese and especially the Diocesan Conference which will be held on the 28th of March at the Cathedral.
Yours in the service of Christ.