Wednesday, October 16, 2019



“Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life!!.... Prosper!  Reproduce!  Fill Ocean!” 

That’s God on Day Five of creation, in The Message, a contemporary Bible translation.

As a child, I heard God the more restrained Englishman in the King James Version: “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that hath life… Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas.” 

Just a little more vivid in those modern words.  God is about SWARM! PROSPER! 

“The Bible begins with an orgy of fruitfulness” is how theologian Walter Brueggemann puts it. In his famous (to us minister types) article “The Liturgy of Abundance, The Myth of Scarcity” he reminds us that Creator God blesses everything, EVERYTHING.  By “bless” Brueggemann means God “endows everything with vitality.”  (I like that definition of blessing.). Only when Pharaoh starts hoarding food does the idea of scarcity begin. Will there be enough?  Who gets it?  Fear.

Look around.  Bees, birds and fish – they swarm.  The order of the universe, the blessing of the universe is bounty, vitality, not scarcity.   There is more than enough, life teems, abounds, multiplies.  God wants a world of throng, plenty, tumult. 

Which is, of course, the tragedy of climate change – birds and bees and fish are scarce, disappearing, dying.  Where are the swarms and throngs?

God is about blessing and abundance.  But our selfish actions are curses and extinctions.  As for me and my people, I say, let us chose life, let there be swarm.

(More on swarming: As a Volunteer Guide at the Monterey Bay Aquarium I often say to guests, “Everything in the wild wants three things – find dinner, not be someone else’s dinner, and be part of a family.  Actually that’s my life too.”  These sardines, by swarming, live the life abundant: when one sees a yummy treat and swims toward it, the group follows.  If one senses danger they all turn away.  And it’s like a singles bar, lots of mates close by.  What these sardines are doing is called schooling, or shoaling, or swarming – such great words.  What is your swarm, where is your abundance?)
________ for adult pilgrimages and youth service trips on the Monterey Bay, celebrating God’s blessings and abundance, with a spiritual tour of Monterey Bay Aquarium, service projects, ocean spirituality.  I post these ocean devotionals every Wednesday here and on Facebook.  Photo of sardine swarm by fabulous diving group PADI.

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