Day 1 (Ash Wednesday)
What does it mean to “live simply,” and what has it got to do with being a Christian?
“Simple living” has everything to do with living a Christian life. Our complex lives – full of busyness, piles of stuff, promises of ease and convenience, and processed food – leave little room for restful and intentional time with God. With so many distractions in life, how do we foster this, our most important and life-giving relationship?
But the complexity of our lives doesn’t just hurt our relationship with God; it can also harm our relationships with those around us. Here are some other ways simplicity and a Christian life go hand-in-hand:
Living simply is about gratitude and generosity. We live in a culture of more, and a culture of now. We live under the false assumption that things will bring us satisfaction. Living simply is, in large part, about giving thanks for what we already have. The practice of generosity helps us focus on what we truly need, and on the joy we find in having that.
Living simply is about loving our neighbors. When we make decisions that are easy or convenient for us, we don’t always see who is really paying for it. Careless disposal of trash is paid for by the environment, and by the fish and birds who eat that garbage thinking it is food. Filling our lives with cheap, mass-produced stuff is paid for by people whose land is destroyed by production needs, and by people who work long hours in an unsafe and unethical environment so we can buy things cheaply. “And who is my neighbor?” the lawyer asked Jesus. Are these our neighbors, too?
Living simply is about stewardship – of our world, of our bodies, of our resources. God has created a beautiful world that our habits work to destroy. God has given us bodies that are temples, which we put secondary to the need for convenience. God has given us each other and asked us to care for one another, but we are so busy keeping up our busy lives and taking care of all our stuff that we scarcely have time for one another. Living more simply helps us focus on God, our physical and emotional health, our loved ones, and the world.
On Ash Wednesday we hear those words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” What could be simpler and earthier than that reminder of our mortality? Join us as we learn what it looks like to walk simply with Christ.