Monday, June 13, 2022

I've Got Love for an Ocean

 I've got love like an ocean

I've got love like an ocean
I've got love like an ocean in my soul
I've got love like an ocean
I've got love like an ocean
I've got love like an ocean in my soul

 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
   In wisdom you have made them all;
   the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
   creeping things innumerable are there,
   living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
   and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

                Psalm 104:24-26 NRSV

Last Wednesday was World Ocean Day and I've been thinking about oceans since. To be honest I'm rather selfishly pondering the thought that for the third year in a row we may not get to an ocean, something we endeavoured to do each year until the pandemic changed our patterns. There is something about being alongside or upon the great ebb and flow of the oceans and seas which is unlike any other experience and we've been fortunate to live at the edge of the Atlantic twice in our lifetimes. 

The theme for World Ocean Day 2022 was Revitalization, a reminder that despite the vastness of the oceans humans have somehow managed to deplete them of living things, from the largest creatures ever to inhabit the planet (Blue whales) to tiny coral polyps which form reefs which provide shelter for thousands of other species. Humans have managed to change the chemical composition of the oceans by adding atmospheric carbon  dioxide at a level the waters can no longer absorb.

The oceans and seas are remarkable in their beauty and diversity despite our assault on them. We've swum in tidal pools in the Azores, kayaked amidst icebergs off Newfoundland, and snorkelled in reefs in Cuba and Costa Rica. Even being at the edge of the ocean during huge storms has offered its own unnerving exhilaration. We now wonder about the morality of travelling long distances to reach salt water when air travel is such a contributor to climate change. 

I realize that I've noted this before but Canada's motto is both oceanic and scriptural, drawing on Psalm  72:8 "Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae" (King James Bible) "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth".  Now we are inclined to speak of "sea to sea to sea" , acknowledging the Arctic Ocean. The argument is made that Canada's coastline is the longest of any nation, measuring 243,042 kilometres, including the mainland coast and the coasts of offshore islands. 

While it's unlikely that Jesus ever saw the Mediterranean sea, Christianity was taken to the ancient world by the apostle Paul, who was a seafaring evangelist at times, complete with a shipwreck on a reef off Malta (Acts 27)  

Thank God, Creator, for the seas of the Earth, in all their might and diversity. Surely it is part of our Christian stewardship to alter the words of the old chorus just a little to declare that we will love and preserve them? 

                                                         Change Islands, Newfoundland, 2017

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