We are almost one week through Lent and hopefully by now, you have established a good rhythm for the season. It has taken me this long to establish all of my own practices for the day and establish a manageable rhythm for my own time during this Lenten season, so if you are not there yet, don’t despair, persevere.
The prayer above, which I pulled out after reading through the reflections on the Centering Prayer for Lent Facebook page, helps me to begin the day by centering my thoughts on the God of all creation. Prayers like this are a wonderful way to start the day. I then read through the 2 devotionals that I have decided to use this year – For the Beauty of The Earth: A Lenten Devotional by Leah Schade and a free devotional by Randy Woodley entitled Drawing Closer to Creation and Creator: An Indigenous Journey Through Lent that I highly recommend to you as well.
Part of what I am enjoying is that because I have chosen to focus on creation care and how I can reduce my carbon footprint, in honor of the approaching 50th celebration of Earth Day, my practices are interwoven with the planting season in our garden. We already have early greens sprouting under grow lights and a couple of days ago, we planted over 100 tomato seeds, carefully placing them on the heat mats that will encourage them to sprout and grow.
Entering into the planting season in this way is a great addition to my Lenten practices and I am finding that it takes more discipline than I expected to set aside time in the busyness of my days to make sure that the garden is properly prepared and tended to. I am finding that For the Beauty of The Earth: A Lenten Devotional by Leah Schade is really helping me to maintain this discipline. Her Ash Wednesday question In what way am I taking care of the very soil from which all life arises? has had me thinking about our composting techniques, summer mulches, weeding and many other aspects of the garden that are important at this season.
Lent doesn’t just make us aware of our own shortcomings and need for repentance, it also connects us to the earth, to both its beauty and fruitfulness as well as its agony at degradation and pollution. Evidently the agricultural season that coincides with Lent in the northern hemisphere was once known as the hunger season. The garden was not yet producing and the beans, lentils and fruit from last year were being stretched to see through this challenging season. I suspect that the Lenten diet is still adhered to by many Orthodox Christians, which is heavy in lentils and beans, was for many poor people a necessity and for the more wealthy, it was a way that they could identify with the poor.
What Is Your Response?
Lent this year for me is a balance of contemplation and action – focusing in on the God of all creation who created us from the soil and gifted us with this beautiful planet to call our home. I recommend that kind of balance for you too. As we approach the end of the first week of Lent, here are some questions you might like to ask yourself:
- What contemplative practices help me focus myself on God as a beginning to the day?
- What am I doing to take care of the soil from which I and all of life arises?
- What other practices provide a rhythm for my life during this Lenten season?