One thing that attracted me to Orthodox Christianity is everything you do counts. There is no wasted movement on the Way. Every prayer, every prostration, every act of charity moves your heart closer to God. It took me a while to learn the unwritten maxim, "we do and we understand". My Western mind wanted to understand first before undertaking any task; probably a latent Calvinist psychosis of believing that what you do really doesn't matter as long as you get your theology correct.
One can do things in the improper order or do too much at once and causes problems. This is like the modern American Buffet restaurant. So many choices, no clear order or amount one can eat. The food might be fantastic quality but if you lack the structure and discipline to eat what your body needs and when, well, you see the consequences in 70% of our neighbors.
On the flip side of learning to do good is seeing the necessity: sin.
I might take one look at the swirling vortex of sin, become overwhelmed, and give up any attempt at remedy.
The problem is too big! What could I possibly do to stem the tide? How does my feeble contribution bring light to darkness?
Or I can start doing good in haphazard ways - tote our groceries in a cloth bag when I remember to bring one or screw in a CFL on the porch fixture. I might feel assuaged but the problem still haunts my conscience.
In learning to live out a Green Martyrdom, we must build a Ladder out of our current wasteful paradigm and into a redeemed relationship with Creation. Every little rung is tied to our religious life. I hope to offer one "baby step" with each post on this blog which offers the chance to build a strong habit of doing good.
The global popularity of Earth Hour is clear; whether or not it is an effective means of changing global electricity usage is not. We have adapted the concept of "turn off everything electric for an hour" into a daily habit.
This evening, when you are ready to say your prayers, turn off every electric item in your house except the fridge and any other absolutely necessary appliance. Make sure you are ready for bedtime before you do this! Light your lampada or vigil candles in front of your icons. You can use other candles or an LED head lamp or little book light to read your Psalter or prayer book. Say the prayers carefully. Blow out the extra candles & tuck yourself into bed for sleep.
Doing this every day, for 15 minutes, will give you approximately 90 "earth" hours in a year!