A 40 Day Journey During Lent

The Worship and Spiritual Life Team at First Baptist invite you to join in a 40 Day Journey during Lent. In this journey we look for ways of Coming closer to God, through our care of the earth, our care of each other and our good care of ourselves.

Choose to do some; choose to do all, or create your own.

Day 1:  Reach out to a friend and let them know about this journey you’re about to start. Tell them what it means for you and ask for their prayers and support.

Day 2:  Today is the day to donate something(s) to the Re-use Center, Good will or Salvation Army. You may not take your “stuff” there today, as you want to combine trips to conserve gas, but put aside what it is you choose to donate.

Day 3:  Turn the thermostat down 1 degree.

Day 4:  Today you will decide to pay a little extra when you do your grocery shopping and buy the peanut butter, spaghetti sauce or mayo in the glass jar rather than the plastic jars. You may even write an e-mail to your grocery store chain asking them to return to using glass jars for their brand of products.

Day 5:  Take a deep breath.  Now take another.

Day 6:  Today you’re going to skip a meal. Globally 690 million people go to bed hungry every night. Since 2014, the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise. -World Vision

Day 7:  Today you are carving out some quiet time to spend with God.” God is still speaking” *, let’s take time just to listen.  *UCC

Day 8:  Take out your Bible. Quiet your mind. Close your eyes. Randomly open your Bible and read the page you’ve opened to. Read it again. What does it mean for you? Give thanks to God for coming to us in mysterious ways, where the answers aren’t always clear, but, loving us and respecting us that we can learn and find our way with God’s help.

Day 9:  Meditate. Either for 10 minutes, 15, or however long you’re able. Clear your mind. The world is a better place when our minds are peaceful and rested.

Day 10:  Switch to bar shampoo. Switch to bar soap. Or just switch to anything that moves away from plastic to more sustainable forms.

Day 11:  Find time today to rest. “Here in the United States, we already work more hours per year than our English- ­speaking counterparts in Britain, Canada and Australia — not to mention those enviable denizens of European social democracies, who enjoy the kind of leisure time only our highest-paid workers can afford.” And then let’s spend some time to begin addressing work and leisure inequality in the US “As Stockton, Calif., Mayor Michael Tubbs recently told Politico: “Work does have some value and some dignity, but I don’t think working 14 hours and not being able to pay your bills, or working two jobs and not being able — there’s nothing inherently dignified about that.”  –Washington Post

Day 12:  Today you’re going to plan to make something that normally you would buy and that has packaging (yogurt, dressings, bread, cookies).  

Day 13:  Today is yoga day. Even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes of simple stretching. It will feel good and give us strength and peace of mind for the journey. 

Day 14:  Today is a skip a meal day.

Day 15:  Reach out to a friend or family member who you haven’t spoke with in a while.

Day 16:  Write a prayer today about the Earth. Pray this prayer with God.

Day 17:  Meditation today. Maybe meditate a few minutes longer than before. Gandhi once said “Oh, I have a lot to do. I guess I will need to meditate longer today.”

Day 18:  Read a poem today. How is it meaningful to you? How do you feel when you read it? Sit with it. How does it feel 5 minutes after? 

Day 19:  Do not eat meat today. “The climate impact of meat is enormous – roughly equivalent to all the driving and flying of every car, truck and plane in the world.” –Greenpeace.

Day 20:  You are half way through this Lenten journey. Today write a letter to God, or to your future self. Say what it is you are trying to reckon with, and what it is you are trying to achieve.

Day 21:  Connect again with someone you have asked for prayers on this journey. Recommit for 20 more days. 

Day 22:  Write a note of thanks or encouragement to someone who is on your mind.

Day 23:  Sing or listen to a song that sparks joy in your heart!  

Day 24:  Be more consciously aware of the textures experienced by your fingertips today, and marvel at the gift of touch.

Day 25:  Compose a personal prayer of thanks before going to bed, listing at least five things from this day for which you are grateful.

Day 26:   If you use plastic bags for garbage, today is the day to pay five cents for a paper bag and use it in your under-the -sink waste container. No more plastic here.

Day 27:  Today, take a contemplative walk while repeating the phrase “I see thee God in all names and forms“. Notice how you experience the Divine in a new way.

Day 28:  On this day contemplate what “Our call is at the intersection of the world’s great need and our deep gladness“. Take one small action that answers your personal call. Feel the joy!

Day 29:  Go to the Internet and read about Mutual Aid of Tompkins County. Understand how the blue food cupboards work. Consider a donation of fresh food to 411 Plain St., Ithaca.

Day 30: Walk in a natural setting and listen to all the sounds

Day 31:  If you can, cut your screen time to half an hour for one day. If you can’t (work, school) find a place to shut it off for a little while, and rest.

Day 32:  Make a plan for composting your food scraps. Here is an easy way to do this: https://recycletompkins.org/recycling-and-composting/food-scraps-recycling/  If you haven’t already switched to using cloth napkins, today is the day to make the plan to do this sustainable practice.

Day 33:  Listen to bird song or nature videos when you are indoors. Here is a beautiful 2 hour one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxP8kxUn5bc   

Day 34:  Write down favorite memories of childhood to share with your family. And now, reach out and share this with your family. 

Day 35:  Pray for people who are least lovable to you. They need your love and prayers too.

Day 36:  Eat no animal products today. 

Day 37:  Write a one breath poem.

Day 38:  Sing a favorite hymn. 

Day 39:  Surprise a friend or neighbor with a card or small gift.

Day 40:  We are at the end of this Lenten Journey. Today, spend some time with God contemplating what you would like to hang on to from these past 40 days. What in your life would you like to let go of?  Ask God for help…and Let Go….