This Lent, we have each committed as individuals to make changes to our lifestyles, in order to live in ways that will enable creation to flourish. Whilst our commitments may well have an impact on those around us – our families and friends might have to eat differently, spend longer travelling or be prompted to switch off their electrics – we are stepping into these challenges as individuals. We will have each weighed up what might challenge our own habits and patterns, and how much we are willing and able to be stretched.
The impact of individual change in responding to the climate crisis is still very much in dispute. What difference will it make if I reduce my meat consumption, or choose plastic free at the supermarket? Faced with aisles of food flown hundreds of miles, cities lit up with bright electric light and traffic jams lining the roads, what good will it actually do for me to change?
For Christians, Lent has always been a time of personal reflection. Of quiet preparation, where we are invited to explore our own response to the challenging and awesome events of Easter. Mirroring Jesus’ solitary journey into the desert, we are invited to do this as individuals, focussing our own hearts on our response to God’s calling.
Yet, we do not do this alone. As we seek to offer ourselves to God, Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that God, in love, responds. As we step out in faith, we are stepping into a personal relationship with God, through which we are invited to grow in understanding of who God is and how God loves.
In doing so, we step into the invitation of faith to play a unique part in the building of God’s kingdom. We each have a part to play in exploring the ways in which we are able to act as salt and light in the world. As we do so, each decision we make conscious of its impact on others is a re-posturing of our priorities. It is an opportunity to turn towards God by turning our priorities towards others.
Responding to the climate crisis will take commitment across society. The level of change required will affect our lives at every level. As disciples of Christ, this is an opportunity to explore how our whole lives might be offered in service to the building of God’s kingdom. As we hunger and thirst for righteousness in our relationships with one another and with creation, we are challenged to take actions which reflect God’s desire for justice. By beginning with our own understanding of how this alters our personal relationship with God, we are offered the chance to begin this journey rooted in the knowledge of God’s love for each of us, and the world.
How do you see your relationship with God and your relationship with creation connecting? Spend some time with God today, listening to what God might be saying to you this Lent.