So this Lent I decided to simplify. There is so much to be said about this idea, and I have been greatly blessed by reading this book with contributions by the likes of Michael Schut, Henri Nouwen, Wendell Berry and others, and was warmed and stirred to my core – not to mention finding myself laughing out loud (while on a plane…thinking about my footprint) – after reading Planted by Leah Kostamo. (I would so recommend both of these amazing books!)
And when I discovered that if everyone in the world lived the way I do it would require 3.45 planets to sustain us all, I had to gulp hard and consider how my right-now choices are impacting the earth which God loves. The earth which he has asked us to partner with him in redeeming.
So the area of my life which I’ve chosen to start by examining is food. To dig deeper into my understanding about the earth and the human processes which carry my food from soil to plate.
Knowing how pitifully I struggle with self discipline, I decided not to do anything too drastic like mess with my caffeine intake but to instead to try to stick to seasonal and local fruits and vegetables. Meaning essentially THIS list for March:
Jersey Royal New Potatoes
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
My reason for writing about this isn’t to share rhubarb recipes that don’t involve custard or tell you what on earth purple sprouting broccoli might taste like. Instead, it’s to help me stay intentional about using this change in habit as a gateway to a deeper understanding of who we are in relation to the rest of creation – and the nature of our role in stewarding it. To begin to unearth the intrinsic connection with all to whom and with which we live – in my heart, on my taste buds, under my fingernails.
So to keep my vision focused on this path of discovery I thought I would record every so often something I learn about the earth and ourselves during this 40-day season. The season in which we look towards Easter – the ultimate reminder of the redemption which took place on that morning in Jerusalem and continues today through us.
Much of this will I’m sure seem so obvious to people who have been much better at caring for creation and being aware of the impact that we have upon it by living the way we do – I’m grateful to you and am looking forward to being taught much along the way.
So to start, a quote by Desmond Tutu in God Has A Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Times:
On the African concept of ubuntu, of our interdependence and connectedness:
‘The world is also discovering we are made for interdependence not just with human beings; we are finding out that we depend on what use to be called inanimate nature. When Africans said: Oh don’t treat that tree like that, it feels pain’, others used to say ‘Ah they’re pre-scientific, they’re primitive’.
It is wonderful now how we are beginning to discover that it is true – that the tree does hurt, and if you hurt the tree, in an extraordinary way you hurt yourself…..we are stewards of [creation] and so it is not to be involved in a passing fad to be concerned about the environment, about ecology. It is not just being political correct to be green. The material universe has a high destiny….[we should steward with] a deep reverence, for all is ultimately holy ground and we should figuratively take off our shoes for it all has the potential to be “theophanic” – to reveal the divine. Every shrub has the ability to be a burning bush and to offer us an encounter with the transcendent.’