As Lent quickly approaches, you may be thinking about a fast or discipline on which you will focus. Oftentimes Lenten practices revolve around food – giving up chocolate or alcohol or kicking the coffee habit. The purpose of Lenten fasting is not to punish you or make you suffer but to draw you closer to God. Discipline requires thought, persistence, and prayer. Lenten practices give us the opportunity to be more mindful of how we live as Christians.
This year, consider observing a Lenten discipline that draws you closer to God through the food you eat. Commit to buying only fair trade coffee or chocolate, refrain from eating factory farmed beef or chicken, limit or cease eating fast food, buy local produce, eat at least one vegetarian meal a week, or choose the organic option for some of the items on your grocery list.
These disciplines not only make you more aware of your eating habits, they are also more gentle on the earth and on our neighbors, particularly farmworkers.
Just after Easter, the North Carolina Conference of Churches will be releasing our latest curriculum: “Eating Well for Our Selves, Our Neighbors, and Our World.” This six-week study will introduce you to the complexities of the food system and the impact that producing food has on each of us and on creation. This study will also give you practical and simple ways to begin to move toward eating habits that will nurture your health and the health of your community.
In addition, on April 19, the Council will hold its 2012 Critical Issues Seminar based on the same themes as the curriculum, and offering workshops on topics like food and spirituality, the economics of hunger, and food and water insecurity and peace. We hope you will join us in Winston-Salem for this daylong event.
And in the days ahead, may you have a blessed Lent filled with prayer and intentional practices that will bring you closer to Almighty God, one bite at a time.
–Lisa Talbott, Duke Divinity School Intern