Marine Stations of the Cross: Mocked and Stripped
Asilomar’s dunes were once stripped and mocked, just as Jesus was stripped and mocked on his way to the cross.
We Christians who follow the call to be good stewards of God’s creation can spend Holy Week walking “Environmental Stations of the Cross.” As Jesus falls under the weight of the cross, we name the crushing force of pollution. When Simon of Cyrene relieves Jesus briefly of the heavy cross, we recall environmental saints who pick up the load for a time – Francis of Assisi, Rachel Carson.
A few years ago during Holy Week 15 youth visiting our Blue Theology Mission Station from First Christian Church, Eugene took a “cross walk” here at Asilomar, and helped resurrect the dunes with native plants. Their service project reminded us that Holy Week does not end at Calvary, but blooms anew at Easter.
The traditional Fifth Station of the Cross is “And when they mocked him, they stripped him of his cloak…” (Matthew 27:31)
With the youth we confessed that we too mock the divine, God’s blessed gift of our planet home. We strip her surface with destructive agriculture and ravaging coal mining. Hurricanes and El Ninos, fueled by our climate change, savagely erode rivers and coasts. We clear cut forests and ocean floors, trawling for paper and rockfish. Stripped.
But small resurrections are happening here at Asilomar, this “Asylum by the Sea,” a regular stop on our Blue Theology pilgrimages for youth and adults.
Dunes are essential for costal health; high and deep they prevent coastal erosion, recruit sand for eroded beaches, provide niche habitat for dune plants and animals. For decades Asilomar’s dunes were unprotected from hikers, trash, dogs, invasive plant species.
But State Parks ecologists started protecting the dunes, removing invasive ice plant, planting native vegetation, building graceful boardwalks to the beach. For years our Blue Theology youth have worked alongside the rangers and a great local group, Return of the Natives, in this restoration resurrection work.
People had stripped the dunes of their integrity, mocked them.
But the dunes are rising, the natives are returning, the stripped surface is being restored. Look – the tomb is empty! Easter dawns over the dunes.
A prayer from the Franciscan Action Network:
O gracious God, all too often human life and the rest of your creation are stripped of the integrity, beauty and dignity with which you have endowed them. This happens right before our eyes, and yet we don’t recognize it as part of the modern Calvary. Like the Roman soldiers throwing dice for our seamless garment, we may even be willing accomplices in your passion, seeking a short-term gain from ecological destruction of the very fabric of life on our planet. Touch our hearts so that we recognize the wrong that we are doing and change our ways. Amen
I write these Blue Theology devotionals every Wednesday here and at www.bluetheologytideings.blogspot.com. We have 7 groups coming to Pacific Grove this spring and summer, and several already for next summer. Always room for more, as well as individual guided retreats. Come walk with us! Bluetheology.com.