How about changing the line on Ash Wednesday for the Imposition of Ashes to, “Remember that you are earth, and to earth you shall return”—which is basically another way to translate adama in Gen. 2:7. Isn’t the deeper meaning of Genesis 2:7 that we are made of the same stuff as the earth, and so our fates are bound together? We are called to be stewards of the earth from which we are made.
Does this take us too far from the traditional Ash Wednesday theme? Given the fact that the Imposition of Ashes is tied to Gen. 2:7, this way of striking the theme might be more true to the overall intentions of beginning the Lenten season with Ash Wednesday. If salvation from our sin is the theme of Lent, then let’s put the matter into its proper cosmic, creational framework. The scope of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ is the whole Creation. And our sinfulness is tied directly to the salvation of Creation because of our failure to live according to our true and original calling, namely, to be stewards with God of God’s Creation. Redemption from our sin of straying away from our calling as stewards means redemption of the whole Creation. If we are redeemed to finally take care of the earth as we should, then the earth also begins to be redeemed.
—A reflection from the Green Lectionary
Here are a few resources to help you explore the ways in which our fates are bound with that of the earth this Lenten season.
EnviroLent is a devotion series that will help readers reflect on the relationship between Lent and creation through art, scripture, theology and practice. It is sponsored by the EcoTheo Review, an online magazine that describes itself this way:
“We are a faithful, intellectual Christian voice that believes Christianity and the ecological movement can, and should, work together—that we have a shared voice—and that change will not come from any one, insular community. That is why we are ecologists, pastors, conservationists, theologians, farmers, artists, economists, and social advocates. Our shared beliefs necessitate action. We are political but not partisan, critical yet hopeful.”
The Ecumenical Carbon Fast provides resources for reflecting on and reducing your carbon footprint during the season of Lent. While the term “fast” seems to be a misnomer for this exercise, deepening your awareness of your carbon consumption and its impacts on people and creation is a powerful way of journeying through Lent. Sign up for daily emails at the link or follow the guide on Facebook.
Daily Bread is simply the practice of making bread each day except Sabbath days during the season of Lent. There are no emails or Facebook groups. It’s just you, some flour, yeast and water, and whomever you choose to share with. I engaged this practice last year, and while there were days when it was hard to make time (and even a few days when I just didn’t do it), I frequently encountered God through this hands-on work of prayer and reflection. I’m creating space in my life to do it again this year, and I invite you to join me.