Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Holy Open Place for Everyone

A Holy Open Place for Everyone

HOPE.  Hope is deep, open, abundant.  Hope springs eternal.  Hope is wet.

Three wise women from the East lead us today to drink from the Wells of Hope.  Sylvia Earle, Maren Tirabassi, Cynthia Bourgeault.

1)“Ocean Hope Spots.” 
Oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle (known affectionately as Her Deepness) has explored and designated over 70 “Ocean Hope Spots,” a global network of abundant yet threatened marine areas needing attention and protection. (300 more are awaiting designation.)  This pic is from the National Geo film about a year-long research expedition she took with 40 teen “Aquanauts” to explore and map those “Hope Spots” with her Mission Blue Alliance

Earle insists on acting from hope, not despair.  Involving youth in ocean conservation gives this oldster hope. 

2)“Pouring out Hope for Advent:”
“Today we pour water for the first Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Hope.
We celebrate the wells of grace
and the gentle rains that bring new growth
and quench our doubts and fears.”

UCC pastor Maren Tirabassi has written an intriguing alternative liturgy for the four Sundays of Advent, which begins this week.  Following the traditional themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, she suggests pouring water each week rather than lighting candles.   Fire is a tender and scary symbol here in California these days.  Let’s prepare for Christmas with soothing water, not dangerous fire. “We bring our hopes to Advent – because we are thirsty for tenderness, and longing for God’s Spirit to hover over the dryness of our lives.”

3)“Mystical Hope,” is Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault’s fabulous little book, which affirms that Hope is not an outcome (I hope I get what I want) or a fix-it strategy.  Rather hope is a deep wellspring pulsing through our very being and the whole of creation.  Hope is subject, not object.

“Hope’s home is at the innermost point in us and in all things.  It is a quality of aliveness.  It does not come at the end, as the feeling that results from a happy outcome.  Rather it lies at the beginning, as a pulse of truth that sends us forth…Hope fills us with the strength to stay present, to abide in the flow of Mercy no matter what outer storms assail us.

“As we swim down to deeper waters, toward the wellsprings of hope, we begin to experience and trust what it means to lay down self….the hidden spring of mercy and hope is released and flows from that center….Hope circulates as a lifeblood.  It warms, it fills, it connects, it directs.  It is the heart of our own life and the heart of all lives.”

A colleague is starting a new midweek midday worship service called H.O.P.E – “A Holy and Open Place for Everyone.” 

A Holy Open Place for Everyone - that sounds to me like a good definition of the ocean, and of hope - Hope Spots, Hope Wells, Hope Hearts.
Advent prayers of Hope with all of you, from the Blue Theology Mission Station.  We are booking youth service trips and adult pilgrimages on Monterey Bay for 2019.  We already have groups coming for winter long weekends and spring break, but still openings in the summer.  Last Advent I wrote 4 of these devotionals about ocean births – you can read them and all my weekly posts by scrolling back here.I will follow Tirabassi’s lead for the next four weeks and write Blue Theology devotionals about the wellsprings of Hope, still waters of Peace, party splashing of Joy and womb waters of Love. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving Day Parade

This is where I’ll watch the parade on Thanksgiving Day.   Not the Macy’s Parade in NYC, but along my main street – Highway One in Big Sur.  

I’ll stand on these cliffs near my home and see (or imagine) a magnificent parade of marine plants and animals.

H – Holdfast, Hydromedusa
A – Anemone, Avocet
P – Plover, Pisaster
P – Puffin, Pelican, Phytoplankton
Y – Yarrow, Yellowtail, Yellowlegs (Greater and Lesser)

T – Tern, Turbot, Tuna
H – Halibut, Hydrocoral
A – Anchovy, Abyss, Algae
N – Nudibranch, Notochords, Nematocysts
K – Kelp, Kildeer, Krill
S – Salmon, Sunfish, Sea Star, Sculpin, Senorita, Shrimp, Salp
G – Great White Shark, Gastropod
I – Invertebrates, Isopod
V – Vertebrates, Velella Velella, Vulture
I – Ichthyologist, Intertidal
N – Naturalist, Neurotoxins
G – Garibaldi, Gull, Gill

We here at the Blue Theology Mission Station join with our pelagic cousins to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

So much to be thankful for.  (Check out <>)
___________  Come visit us in Pacific Grove, on your own or in a group, to join in watching the parade!   I post these Wednesday ocean devotionals here and on Facebook.  Thanks Steve Lonhardt from <> for the great photo.  An amazing free library of ocean photos, thanks to NOAA.

Outdoor Presidents

Outdoor Presidents

I've spent a few blessed days here in Yosemite.  Every day I thank John Muir for inviting President Teddy Roosevelt here in 1903 on a three day camping trip.  The sign marking their campsite near Bridal Veil Falls say, "Here they camped and talked forest good."  Roosevelt was changed by that experience, and he went on to protect Yosemite and many more national parks and wilderness areas.

I remember in 1998 when another President, and Vice President, Bill Clinton and Al Gore, also spent significant time outdoors, when they came to Monterey for a big ocean conference.  There they learned from our John Muir-esque locals about the need for ocean protection, and Clinton and Gore, like Roosevelt, went on to extend more federal protection to wide open spaces, in this case the wet ones.

I was heartened last week to see so many scientists elected to Congress, including Joe Cunningham, an ocean scientist from South Carolina, and the new Nevada senator, Jacky Rosen, a software engineer who proudly affirmed in her campaign how her solar energy company had cut her synagogue's energy bill by 70%.

We at the Blue Theology Mission Station strongly believe that science and religion deeply inform each other and are not mutually exclusive.  We encourage our visiting groups of youth and adults to get involved in conservation efforts locally and nationally.   Thanks be to God to John, Teddy, Bill, Al, Joe, Jacky and all other science-based nature protectors. 
_______ I post these Wednesday devotionals here and on Facebook.