Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | March 16, 2022

In Praise of a Lenten Carbon Fast

Blog|Kirsten Tucker

Why do we fast at Lent? I have to admit, this one escapes me a little. I understand giving alms and prayer, but fasting? Why? What difference does it make if I give up chocolate for Lent? I’ll go right back to my favorite dark chocolate first thing Easter morning. 

As the Rev. Jude Harmon so eloquently wrote in a recent email, our Lenten practices are vehicles of self-transformation. We are practicing to be our better selves. Who would I be if I were able to inch a little bit closer to my ideals? Truthfully, eating less chocolate doesn’t really figure into my personal ideals. But there are other things I can cut back on that do nudge me towards that better self. 

What are my ideals? I want to be a person who joyfully cares for my community, who gives from my abundance, who is courageous in the face of daunting odds, and who finds wonder and beauty in the world around me.

Which brings me to a carbon fast. The idea is that we cut back on our personal carbon footprints, with the intention of shifting ourselves closer to that person we long to be. There are so many things, big and little, that we can do. Drive our gas-powered cars less. Give up driving our gas-powered cars. Give up our gas-powered cars, period! Try cycling. E-bikes are amazing, and, trust me on this one, you *will* feel joy and wonder as you zip around San Francisco on your bicycle. Give up red meat. Install solar on the roof (if you have one). Change all the light bulbs in the house to LEDs. Take fewer airplane trips. Walk more, and meet your neighbors. Order fewer things shipped to you. 

I know that by myself, I can’t stop global climate change, or end hunger, or end inequality and homelessness. But I can change myself in ways that shift who I am closer to those goals, and in the process, bring myself a little closer to God. 

P.S. Thank you so much for this lovely Lenten reflection from our dear congregant Kirsten Tucker. Every year Grace Cathedral chooses a theme to help provide focus and create new ways to grow as a community. The theme this year is Connection.

In the year of Connection, we want to know what you are thinking, what you are doing and how we inspired you to reimagine church. Have something to say? How did a sermon inspire you? Want to share your thoughts from our sermons? Connect with us on social by using #heygracecathedral or email us at

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