I mentioned in my Ash Wednesday post that I have registered for the Tearfund Carbon Fast during Lent - each day's suggestion if emailed to me. Now, I haven't managed to read each one on the correct day, but I have taken on board some of the actions. I wonder, is anyone else doing this particular fast? And have you found it useful?
I was rather struck by today's thought:
What comes in and out of your home?
Reflect on what you have bought and consumed recently and challenge yourself on your consumption habits.
Do you need everything you buy?
Pray about what you might do to change any bad habits
I have just been helping a friend set up her new computer and, in the process, she expressed some doubts about whether she should have bought such a pricey item (it was actually one of best buys). But I have no doubt that the benefits she will gain and the enhanced communication she will experience and offer to others will more than outweigh the monetary cost.
But she was wise to question herself. How often do we buy things/clothes/foods that are either totally unnecessary or simply excessive and surplus to our needs?
And it also brought me back to this morning's gospel reading. When Jesus went up to Jerusalem he found that the Jewish teaching about sacrificial offerings had become an excuse for rampant exploitation and money-making. A sort of religious consumerism. And he showed how he felt!
I think it is worth trying an Ignatian-style meditation on this passage:
Imagine you are one of Jesus' followers at that time. You are quite entranced by this man and his straight talking manner. His teaching on love is captivating and you are carried along - knowing this man is something very special - maybe not fully understanding - but also aware he is courting the displeasure of the religious hierarchy.
You are in a group of people who enter the outer courts of the Temple with him. Before you is a commercial marketplace - birds and animals of all kinds, busy stall-holders plying their trade. Be there, picture it... imagine the scene as you read the passage from John's gospel below... then close your eyes and allow the story to unfold in your mind's eye.
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body.
I wonder how you felt as Jesus overturned the tables and set the doves flying into the air?