When I started this, I said the goal was to keep up with a weekly Lenten Devotion. I’m glad this one is just coming out later than last week’s. Knowing me, during the season of Lent one of these will come out on Thursdays. Oh-well. Here are my thoughts for today.
Lenten Theme: Community with Creation
Scripture: Mark 4:35-41
For me, community is the key theme of the work of Jesus.
Each healing is about the restoration of community.
Each meal is about reconciliation which is needed for community.
Each conversation is about moving someone from the edges of society to being seen in the middle.
In today’s text, Jesus reminds us that we are not just in community with other humans, but we are in community with all of creation – the wind, the snow, the rain and every plant and creature.
On Saturday, for our weekly family movie night, we watched My Octopus Teacher. It is the story of a man who was taking time away to rediscover himself and his relationship with his family, which happens in the water. He finds himself following and befriending a small octopus for a year and learning from her life. The diver knew that he was the one out of place. He took time to gain the trust of the animal. The diver didn’t take the lead or have dominion over the animal. Instead he followed the octopus and marveled at what she could do, how she could hide, how she could blend into her environment, how she could heal and regenerate a leg after a shark attack. The person took time to notice something new each day in the same place. He was in community with that small, yet vibrant, piece of creation.
This blog, at its roots, is about faith and race. In the past several years we have seen events like the winter storm in Texas, the hurricane in Puerto Rico, and the water crisis in Flint, MI point to how out-of- sync humanity is with nature and we’ve seen how those who are most effective by that lack of community with creation are the poor and predominately black and brown people. In economically depressed areas there is a lack of infrastructure and resources to be able to endure the storm, from years of neglect, and to keep necessary power and water working in the midst of the crisis. The systemic dehumanization of those living in primarily black and brown areas, makes us blind to seeing the environmental racism that take place around us. Poor areas of communities find themselves to be dumping grounds for daily waste or our contaminated waste. The Frontline documentary on the Plastic Wars will show you our plastic bags have been dumped in places like small villages in Indonesia. Instead of truly figuring out how to recycle plastic and make it into useful items, we dump it into creation, hoping that she will know how to handle it. Out of sight. Out of mind. If I can’t see the problem, than no one can see it. Wrong. Those who have no voice at the decision making table can see it. Those who are calling us to find a way to be at one with creation can see it and are asking us to change.
After calming the storm Jesus asks the disciples why they were afraid. If we are in community with creation we know that storms end, and we know that if we prepare we can live in harmony with creation even during the most trying of times. Why do we seem to be afraid to work with creation to do what is best not just for all of humankind, but also for all of what God has made, which is creation as well. Why are we afraid to be more creative and come up with solutions that leave a better world for those who come after us?
Be in community with creation.