Hymn Verse: CREATION
I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea
around the old eternal rocks.
Scripture: Job 38:4-13, 16
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.”
PRAY: Moving prayer
This week, the hymn sings of the splendor of creation, and our scripture reminds Job and us that God’s fingerprints are on everything we see. Take a walk without earbuds or distractions, and let yourself notice the beauty of your neighborhood. As you walk, give thanks to God for what you see, naming it and praying for its wellbeing. Imagine yourself clasping hold of the qualities of what you see: the resilience of early flowers, the hope of greening plants, the endurance of stones, the adaptability of water, and so on.
FAST: Clothing or meat fast
In noticing creation, we’re also drawn to notice how humanity has affected it, to respond…perhaps by engaging in a clothing or meat fast this week. (No, I’m not advocating for making your home a nudist colony, at least not without the consent of all its denizens and some good quality curtains or blinds.)
Why clothing and meat?
- The clothing industry produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.
- Almost 30% of the world’s ice-free land is used to raise food animals, and beef cows produce about the same carbon emissions as the entire fashion industry.
A meat fast is pretty self-explanatory, whether you choose to do it for just one day, one week, or the rest of Lent. For the clothing fast, here’s your challenge: choose two pairs of pants/skirts, four tops, two pairs of shoes, and one coat, and wear them all week. (Clothes for exercise, sleeping, and base layering don’t count, nor do socks or underwear.) Pay attention to what happens throughout your week: are you stressed by the lack of options, or relieved? Is your morning routine shortened or lengthened? Do your clothes serve your needs?
At the end of the week, take stock of your closet. You might be filled with unmitigated gratitude for the clothes you have. Or you might be filled with an urge to give lots of them away. If it’s the latter, temper your enthusiasm with care for creation: don’t give your wardrobe away with the intention of replacing it with new pieces, but with one of enjoying what you have more deeply.
GIVE: to a charity that protects the earth
Need ideas? Charity Navigator gives these four top marks when it comes to financial health, transparency and accountability.
- Friends of the Earth
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Natural Resources Defense Council
 “These Facts Show How Unsustainable the Fashion Industry Is,” by Morgan Mcfall-Johnsen. World Economic Forum, January 31, 2020. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/fashion-industry-carbon-unsustainable-environment-pollution/
 “The Real Problem with Beef,” by Aaron E. Campbell. The New York Times, October 1, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/01/upshot/beef-health-climate-impact.html