Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let Us Now Pause for a Moment of Science

Let Us Now Pause for a Moment of Science

Welcome to our worship here at the Church of Marine Mammals. I am the Rev. Ursus Maritimus, Rev. Sea Bear.  Let us pause….

Many of you below the Arctic Circle know me as Rev. Polar Bear.  I’ve heard that you think I am cute, but I hope you also want to know as much science about me as you can, so that’s why I am telling you my scientific name, Ursus Maritimus.  I am a bear who loves the sea.  Let us pause….

Scientists call us all “marine” mammals because we spend most of our time at sea and get most of our food from the sea.   I am honored to lead this congregation of seals and sea lions and otters and walruses and dolphins and manatees and whales – we are a diverse group!  God clearly loves diversity, so much diversity in God’s creation, and yet so much unity.  Let us pause….

We gather today to pause, and to pray, not in SILENCE (although that’s a good thing) but in SCIENCE.  Whenever we pray we say at least five things:

-THANKS! Thanks for all the Science Marches last week, even above the Arctic Circle!  I saw lots of signs like this one, that’s me on the sign!  Science has told the world how vulnerable and threatened we sea bears are, and helped stop the widespread hunting of us that almost wiped us out last century.  Science advised the Nixon administration to pass the Marine Mammal Protection Act and help us.  Thanks!
-HELP!  But now we pray asking for more scientific help because climate change is melting our home, the ice shelf.  We have to swim farther for food, we can’t find ice in which to build maternity dens for our babies, we are having fewer babies, and more are dying.  Our population is threatened, less than 20,000 of us.  That blue I’m sitting on is the lapping melted water where my home used to be.  Help!
-I’M SORRY!  Some of you said you saw another polar bear sign on the marches. It simply read, “First they came for the polar bears….”  I’ve heard people say, “Polar bears seem so far away.  What difference does their plight make for me?”  But if climate change came first to the polar bears, now it’s coming for all those land mammals down south.  Then it will come for the people, and there may be no one left to help.  We all need to say, “I’m sorry I thought we could live on our own, that we are someone not connected to all life.”
-WOW!  That’s a great prayer, Wow!  Wow, that millions marched for science.  Wow, that some parts of the Artic have been set aside as sanctuaries (love that word!)  Wow, that when scientists spoke at the marches, everyone cheered!  Wow, at all the other cool signs, like “Got Plague?  Me neither, thank a scientist!”  Wow!
-HOW LONG, O LORD?  That’s a lament prayer.  Sometimes in marine mammal prayers we say, “This sucks!”  How long will we watch our babies die, our homes melt, our plight ignored, our image on Coke bottles but not in people’s hearts?  How long?

Our Church of Marine Mammals is not a silent lot, nor a glum lot!  We roar and squeak and click and blow and sing!  We pause for science, not for silence.  And we ask you all to pray with us, in thanks, help, sorrow, wow and lament.  Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.  Still room at our May 9 Resource/Retreat Day for clergy and religious educators on ocean spirituality and stewardship, and this summer for youth group mission trips and adult pilgrimages in Pacific Grove.  I post these “Tide-ings” each Wednesday.

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