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As we enter the season of Lent, the period of 40 days that carries us to Easter, it is important to acknowledge the ways that we have turned away from God in our lives and remember the call to turn our thankful hearts, humble minds and serving hands back toward God. For many Christians and churches, Lent is a time to refocus and reorient ourselves to a life of prayer, sacrifice, and repentance.

This past Wednesday, Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, when many of us make a commitment to “give up” a bad habit, indulgence, or distracting practice that moves us farther away from God. This symbolic and literal practice of giving up something for Lent is a significant form of sacrifice or fasting. By committing to Lenten fasting and creating a reflective space and time in our busy lives, we can learn to appreciate and be thankful for the true abundance in our lives. A small positive sacrifice can have a big impact that last beyond the 40 days of Lent.

In this time of Lent, I am reminded again of the great commandment to love God and our neighbours. I have learned that loving and honoring God means caring, stewarding, and preserving God’s good creation and the environment around us. Therefore for my Lenten fasting, I am supporting Citizens for Public Justice’s Give it up for the Earth faith-in-action campaign to increase climate justice in Canada. Through this campaign, Christians will be marking Lent by giving up practices that hurt the environment.

As a Christian, I see climate change as a matter of faith and justice, so I am committed to join with others across the country to speak up and advocate for the federal government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet our international climate change goals. World leaders have signed the historic Paris Agreement in 2015 to work together and respond to the threat of climate change. For Canada, this is an important opportunity for us to provide strong and faithful leadership and take meaningful action to reflect our values and priorities.   

On a collective level, we can urge our leaders to end subsidies to the fossil fuel sector and invest strategically in renewable and clean energy. On an individual level, I will pledge to reduce my greenhouse gas emissions by buying local food and goods, reducing electricity use, and supporting eco-friendly businesses.

As a church, we also have responsibility to engage in conversations around climate change and creation care. We are challenged to reflect deeply about our biblical response to the ecological crisis and the impact on marginalized communities. At First Christian Reformed Church in Vancouver, we handed out over 70 Give it up for the Earth’s pledge cards and advocacy postcards to our congregation on Sunday morning before Lent. As a body of Christ, we will continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by recycling and composting, eating local and growing food in our church gardens, and encouraging people to walk, bike or bus to church.

For this season of Lent, let’s put our faith into action and renew our commitment to God by focusing our Lenten fast on stewarding and preserving God’s creation. 

Are you American? You can participate too by asking your House Representative to join the Climate Solutions Caucus. 

Editor's note: Citizens for Public Justice is a CRC partner in Ottawa, Canada. 

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