“Let’s stop for a moment at this display of lookdown fish. These are my favorite fish. Aren’t they cool and silvery and beautiful? Is there a prayer we could say here?”
Kimberly Brown, a volunteer in our Blue Theology ministry (ocean conservation and spirituality) was leading a group of teens who live in a farm labor camp in Soledad on a “spiritual visit” to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Later they would do a service project, ocean citizen science, counting sand crabs on Asilomar Beach for a long term study on climate change.
But for now, these silvery miracles.
One girl said, “I don’t know how to pray.” Kimberly encouraged her, “If God were standing here with us, what would you say?” Quietly she said, “Wow!” That’s a prayer,” Kimberly replied. “Simply one word can be a prayer.”
Kimberly asked the group to form a circle around the circular tank, and said, “On the count of three, let’s pray. One, two, three….” And together they all said, they all prayed, “WOW!”
This day was one of three this summer when we hosted youth from different rural farm labor camps in Monterey County for a Blue Theology day, in a fabulous partnership with the local Catholic Diocese. We served them three meals, and with the local bishop and his staff led them in worship inspired by Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, Laudate Si.
During their walk to the Aquarium from our church, along the shore, as on a pilgrimage, Kimberly had stopped at various “marine stations of the cross” (whale sculpture, storm drain, etc.) and suggested five kinds of prayers. They are all helpful anywhere, but especially by the sea – Thanks, Help, I’m Sorry, Wow and How Long, O Lord?
The whole day was filled with “Wow!” moments and prayers. Praying with the lookdown fish was a special one.
Bluetheology.com for info on our youth service trips, adult pilgrimages and clergy renewal times along the Monterey Bay. Lots of Wow! going on this fall – whales, birds, otters and more. Come for a day or a weekend. I post these “Blue Theology Tide-ings” most Wednesdays here and at on Facebook at Blue Theology Mission Station. Come and sea!