Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Carbon Fast for Lent: Day 26

Day 26 - "Love does no harm to its neighbor" Romans 13:10. But while our lifestyles consume more and more energy, our poorer neighbors are suffering. Reflect on ways to love our neighbors in our increasingly connected world.

I confess to being a little uncomfortable with the quote used above. Not for what it says of course - it's completely consonant with the whole idea of agape love articulated throughout the New Testament. But when you read all of Romans 13, you find that it's slightly out of context. Not dramatically so, but the overall point of the first part of the chapter is submission to the government - a sort of go along to get along idea. This should be no surprise, of course; it's possible Paul, who wrote the Letter to the Romans, was himself in prison at the time, and his correspondence might well have been read. And at the same time there was persecution going on, sporadically, and Paul was being a bit pragmatically-minded in this passage. But the segue in verse 8 from paying taxes to talking about love is "Owe no one anything." Pretty smart, seems to me. Wise advice, financially, too - debt usually is not a good place to be in, excpet when taking on debt to finance an investment.

But the overal point of today's activity is right, it seems to me. Even 20 years ago, the world was far less interconnected. There was no Internet, of course, but also trade and financial connections were far weaker. Now we know ver well indeed that our actions at home do affect others, and vice-versa as well.

I'm reminded of the Good Samaritan story from Luke, and its urgent question: Who is your neighbor today? And knowing the Commandment, what are you going to do about it?

Almighty and most merciful God, drive from us all weakness of body, mind, and spirit; that, being restored to wholeness, we may with free hearts become what you intend us to be and accomplish what you want us to do; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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