Hey all,

Some may wonder what this post is doing on a blog dedicated to exploring God and the arts. Stay with me, and I promise I’ll have a spiritual tie-in.

The Commuter Challenge is an annual event where individuals and companies across Canada aim to lower the environmental impact of their daily commutes to and from work. For one week, we are challenged to avoid driving by ourselves at least once, whether by walking, biking, taking transit, carpooling, or telecommuting (working from home). This year, the Commuter Challenge is taking place from May 31 – June 6. By logging into the Commuter Challenge website, participants can log their commutes and see their saved CO2 emissions, calories burned, and total kilometers traveled. At the end of the week, companies, cities, and provinces are ranked according to total kilometers traveled and employee participation. It can be a lot of fun, and ultimately a very rewarding experience.

What does this have to to with God, and why should you care? Good questions. Let’s dive into them.

At the beginning of all things, God created the world and gave it to humanity to look after. We were made in His image, ordained as His viceroys, and charged with stewarding His creation. As I look around today, I am ashamed of the poor job we are doing overall.

View from Stoney Trail pedestrian bridge.
View from Stoney Trail pedestrian bridge.

I took this photo yesterday on my run to work. The mountains always capture my attention as I pass this section of the path and I am reminded of God’s goodness and majesty by them. However, I also notice the swathes of asphalt, the plethora of vehicles, and the dead earth beside the highway. And these are nothing compared to some of the major destruction we have been wreaking on the planet. Between strip mining, oil spills, urban sprawl, and ozone depletion, it doesn’t seem like we are taking our responsibilities towards the Earth seriously at all. Maybe a little change would do us good.

On that note, I’ve found running or taking transit to work to be beneficial for my spiritual well-being. It gives me time to talk with God without the distractions of traffic signs, pedestrians, and that guy who just cut me off. I get a wonderful view of the city that reminds me to be praying for Calgary and its inhabitants. It’s also a wonderful excuse to just slow down and breathe and not worry about getting to where I’m going as quickly as possible. When taking the train or bus, I spend time praying for everyone sharing transit with me.

My challenge to all of you today is to ask your boss if your workplace is participating in the Commuter Challenge this year. If not, why don’t you head to the website and register as an individual. Then grab your shoes, a bus pass, or a buddy with a car, and get to work. Or, stay at home in your pajamas and work from your couch. As for me, I plan on taking a different route to work each day that week, running a little longer each day, totaling 46-50 kilometers over the week. Try it out, even for one day. You might find it helps a little with your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. And really, what have you got to lose?

Check it out at www.commuterchallenge.ca

Happy commuting!