Posted by: Chloe Schwabe | March 23, 2011

Lenten Actions for Abundant Living

“All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.” Acts 2:44-45

Lent is a season that is often associated with giving something up and for being in reflection. While occurring after Jesus’ resurrection, I think that this week’s Lenten passage reflects a spirit of what Lent can mean today. How can the choices we make today as followers of Christ actually help the common good, or the community?

After Jesus was resurrected, his disciples gave up their belongings and gave them to those in need. We can also make choices during lent to give up things that can lead to more abundant living in the long run. Here are some ideas:

Use less water or reuse water- Put a bucket in your shower and use the leftover “gray water” to water your plants. Water is a sacred gift from God that all life on Earth depends on and yet freshwater is in limited supply. Check out our water resources for more ideas.

Remove some toxic chemicals from your daily routine- we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals everyday. We may be exposed to, on average, 100-200 chemicals from personal care products alone. While just small amounts, these chemicals can build up throughout the day and the years. Take a look at your personal care products and choose to purchase or make your own safer products. Look at the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database to explore what is in your products and how they match up to others. Download our healthy spa toolkit here.

Avoid using pesticides in your house or yard- A number of pesticides are linked to health issues like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or can cause endocrine system disruption. Planting native species or a variety of plants can reduce the need for pesticides. In your home, make sure to store food away and to regularly clean counters and floors. try using lavender oil to wash your floors to keep back mice or sprinkle cinnamon to detract ants.

Go on a carbon fast- Try to cut down on how much CO2 you use everyday by driving your car less or combining trips into one, turning off lights when not in use, or thinking about if there are other steps you can take before turning on the AC or the heat. Fans or sweaters anyone?

I personally am committing to riding my bike on to two times a week to work instead of riding a bus or train. When I moved to DC over seven years ago, I sold my car since there is a great public transportation system here. I know that I am lucky to live in a place that does have a good transportation system and that I live less than five miles from my work place.

Think of these actions less as something you are giving up as a sacrifice but more as away of ensuring that the gifts God has provided us are more equitably distributed and also present for future generations of all God’s Creation. By taking these actions, we are helping the common good as well as ensuring the health of God’s Creation, including human health.

This blog is part of our Lenten Blog Series. The scripture comes from our newest Earth Day Sunday education and worship resource on community called Where Two or More Are Gathered: Eco-Justice as Community.  Download the resource here.

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