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An Earthcare Reflection for Lent

February 17, 2023

For Presbyterians, Lent is a time to reflect on Jesus’s death and resurrection through a discipline of seeking a deeper and more authentic relationship with God, who offers us new and abundant life in faith.

One of our own WPC members, Reid Kirkpatrick, provided a Lenten devotional to the 2022 Joyful Mess Art group that I felt was a perfect reflection of our relationship with God and God’s creation. Reid has kindly offered to have it be shared with our community.

Reid’s reflected on Genesis 20-23 & 26-27,  the Creation story and how it defines the direct connection between God and God’s natural and human creation. His reflections also represent the essence of our Earthcare mission at WPC. We pray that this blesses you as we travel through Lent together.

--Dorothy Geyer

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with the swarm of living creatures and the fowl fly over the earth across the vault of heaven,” and God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that crawls, which the water had swarmed forth of each kind, and the winged fowl of each kind, and God saw that it was good.  And God blessed them, saying “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas and let the fowl multiply in the earth.”  And it was evening and it was morning, fifth day.

And God said, “Let us make human in our image, by our likeness, to hold sway over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the heavens and the cattle and the wild beasts and all the crawling things that crawl upon the earth.”  And God created the human in his image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.

–Genesis 20-23 & 26-27

As a Research Vessel Captain I am fortunate enough in my work that I bear witness to creation daily.  A morning on the bay or ocean watching the sun rise up over the horizon like a songline is witnessing creation being made whole, creation reborn again.  But in this line of work we also bear witness to the depletion of creation.  As we take measurement we can see the trend of rising sea temperatures, growth of algal blooms, or the decreasing size of fish species as their population is challenged, and of course the depletion of biodiversity in our own waters.

 For myself the creation story has always defined our purpose as a people.  The creation story is the great commission.  That we are made in Godly image to hold sway over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the heavens, etc.  In other times this same scripture may have been used to justify the over harvesting of fish, believing the sea and her abundant resources to be immortal created for our benefit alone.  But I liken to the thought of Chief Seattle that “The earth does not belong to man, that man belongs to the earth.’

 And that is why I also take heart when I see young purpose driven researchers out there in the field in the cold of winter sorting fish for little more than minimum wage, or hear the old timers who have witnessed not just the crash of certain fisheries and seen the worst of the pollution of the Bay, but have seen some fisheries rebound and that we are improving ever so slowly the Bay environment.  We see the challenges ahead of us and they are great, but I take heart knowing that we too can fulfill our part in the creation story and hold sway for the betterment of all species, that creation can be remade again like a songline, should we so choose.  But we have to make that choice, and we all have to make it together…soon.

–Reid Kirkpatrick

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