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Lenten Carbon Fast 2020 ~ Good Friday

Today try to enjoy an electricity-free day. Turn off your TV, computer, mobile phone and radio, and take time to reflect

The current effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the world-wide response to stop its devastating spread has turned our lives upsidedown breaking us out of so many of daily habits and routines. Scientists are measuring reduction of air pollution and significant reductions to carbon emissions. Many more of us are choosing to walk or bike other than drive for short errands or taking long walks rediscovering our local neighborhoods.

Going screen free for a day can be a real challenge for many of us is this age of high information consumption. The Forbes article 4 Reasons to Turn Off Your Phone provides beneficial insights into building new practices around how we consume information. Here is an excerpt from that article.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 


Isaiah 52

13See, my servant shall prosper,he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.14Even as many were amazed at him—so marred were his features,beyond that of mortalshis appearance, beyond that of human beings—

Isaiah 53

1Who would believe what we have heard?To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?2He grew up like a sapling before him,like a shoot from the parched earth;He had no majestic bearing to catch our eye,no beauty to draw us to him.3He was spurned and avoided by men,a man of suffering, knowing pain,Like one from whom you turn your face,spurned, and we held him in no esteem.4Yet it was our pain that he bore,our sufferings he endured.We thought of him as stricken,struck down by God and afflicted,5But he was pierced for our sins,crushed for our iniquity.He bore the punishment that makes us whole,by his wounds we were healed.6We had all gone astray like sheep,all following our own way;But the LORD laid upon himthe guilt of us all.7Though harshly treated, he submittedand did not open his mouth;Like a lamb led to slaughteror a sheep silent before shearers,he did not open his mouth.8Seized and condemned, he was taken away.Who would have thought any more of his destiny?For he was cut off from the land of the living,struck for the sins of his people.9He was given a grave among the wicked,a burial place with evildoers,Though he had done no wrong,nor was deceit found in his mouth.10But it was the LORD’s will to crush him with pain.By making his life as a reparation offering,he shall see his offspring, shall lengthen his days,and the LORD’s will shall be accomplished through him.11Because of his anguish he shall see the light;because of his knowledge he shall be content;My servant, the just one, shall justify the many,their iniquity he shall bear.12Therefore I will give him his portion among the many,and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,Because he surrendered himself to death,was counted among the transgressors,Bore the sins of many,and interceded for the transgressors.

Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 


Hebrews 4

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. 16So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Hebrews 5

7In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; 9and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,

Jeremiah 18:1-19:14 


Jeremiah 18

1This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2Arise and go down to the potter’s house; there you will hear my word. 3I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, working at the wheel. 4Whenever the vessel of clay he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making another vessel of whatever sort he pleased. 5Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done?—oracle of the LORD. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. 7 At one moment I may decree concerning a nation or kingdom that I will uproot and tear down and destroy it; 8but if that nation against whom I have decreed turns from its evil, then I will have a change of heart regarding the evil which I have decreed. 9At another moment, I may decree concerning a nation or kingdom that I will build up and plant it; 10but if that nation does what is evil in my eyes, refusing to obey my voice, then I will have a change of heart regarding the good with which I planned to bless it.11And now, tell this to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the LORD: Look, I am fashioning evil against you and making a plan. Return, all of you, from your evil way; reform your ways and your deeds. 12But they will say, “No use! We will follow our own devices; each one of us will behave according to the stubbornness of our evil hearts!”13Therefore thus says the LORD:Ask among the nations—who has ever heard the like?Truly horrible thingsvirgin Israel has done!14Does the snow of Lebanondesert the rocky heights?Do the gushing waters dry upthat flow fresh down the mountains?15Yet my people have forgotten me:they offer incense in vain.They stumble off their paths,the ways of old,Traveling on bypaths,not the beaten track.16Their land shall be made a waste,an object of endless hissing:All passersby will be horrified,shaking their heads.17Like the east wind, I will scatter thembefore their enemies;I will show them my back, not my face,in their day of disaster.18“Come,” they said, “let us devise a plot against Jeremiah, for instruction will not perish from the priests, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. Come, let us destroy him by his own tongue. Let us pay careful attention to his every word.”19Pay attention to me, O LORD,and listen to what my adversaries say.20Must good be repaid with evilthat they should dig a pit to take my life?Remember that I stood before youto speak on their behalf,to turn your wrath away from them.21So now, give their children to famine,deliver them to the power of the sword.Let their wives be childless and widows;let their husbands die of pestilence,their youths be struck down by the sword in battle.22May cries be heard from their homes,when suddenly you send plunderers against them.For they have dug a pit to capture me,they have hidden snares for my feet;23But you, LORD, knowall their planning for my death.Do not forgive their crime,and their sin do not blot out from your sight!Let them stumble before you,in the time of your anger act against them.

Jeremiah 19

1Thus said the LORD: Go, buy a potter’s earthenware flask. Take along some of the elders of the people and some of the priests, 2and go out toward the Valley of Ben-hinnom, at the entrance of the Potsherd Gate; there proclaim the words which I will speak to you: 3You shall say, Listen to the word of the LORD, kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to bring such evil upon this place that the ears of all who hear of it will ring. 4All because they have forsaken me and profaned this place by burning incense to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors knew; and because the kings of Judah have filled this place with innocent blood, 5building high places for Baal to burn their children in fire as offerings to Baal—something I never considered or said or commanded. 6 Therefore, days are coming—oracle of the LORD—when this place will no longer be called Topheth, or the Valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather, the Valley of Slaughter. 7In this place I will foil the plan of Judah and Jerusalem; I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, at the hand of those who seek their lives. Their corpses I will give as food to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. 8I will make this city a waste and an object of hissing. Because of all its wounds, every passerby will be horrified and hiss. 9I will have them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters; they shall eat one another’s flesh during the harsh siege under which their enemies and those who seek their lives will confine them.10And you shall break the flask in the sight of the men who went with you, 11and say to them: Thus says the LORD of hosts: Thus will I smash this people and this city, as one smashes a clay pot so that it cannot be repaired. And Topheth shall be its burial place, for there will be no other place for burial. 12Thus I will do to this place and to its inhabitants—oracle of the LORD; I will make this city like Topheth. 13And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled like the place of Topheth, all the houses upon whose roofs they burnt incense to the whole host of heaven and poured out libations to other gods.14When Jeremiah returned from Topheth, where the LORD had sent him to prophesy, he stood in the court of the house of the LORD and said to all the people:


My Device Makes Me Stressed

It’s no surprise, then, that 73 percent of respondents believe that their devices contribute to stress in their lives. (Learn more about the stress epidemic and how it’s impacting you.)

 We Spend More Time With Screens Than People

It’s bad enough that we’ll interrupt what we’re doing with those we love to do something that will undoubtedly leave us more stressed — but more and more people are opting for screen time over the company of others. Three out of five people admitted to spending more of their free time on their computers than with their significant others.

3 Ways to Dial Down Your Device

Multiple devices and unlimited freedom wreak havoc on our attention spans, our social relationships and likely our productivity. More important than summer Fridays, let’s prepare for vacation and summer with three changes than can have a strong impact of a tough behavior problem:

Rethink the effects. Next time you do a quick scan of email, text, and social networks, ask yourself, what did you learn and how did it make you feel? We rarely take the time to reflect on it, but doing so and owning up to how it makes you feel and what, if anything, it’s doing for you, is the first step to making a shift.

Rethink the urge.When you feel yourself reaching for your device hit pause. Ask yourself what could be gained from checking right now. Delay it–especially if you’re in the middle of food or conversation. Try to remember what you learned the last time you did that scan, i.e., nothing that couldn’t wait.

Rethink your time. Rather than let digital inertia take over, make a plan: to go out, to see people, to get food, meet someone for a walk. It does require an extra effort to put yourself in front of other people, even the ones you live with — but the rewards you’ll reap from that company will outweigh anything you’ll find on Facebook. If you’re feeling very adventurous, try this: leave your device at home for a day. Remind yourself what life feels like when you don’t connect.


Today’s photo compliments of Dave on Unsplash


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