I sit here in Holland, Michigan gazing at the lake. In Ojibwe, “mishigami” means “large water.” After the French invaded and stole the land from ingenious people who had lived here for thousands of years, and after the English stole it from the French, it came to be called Lake Michigan. (We destroy and displace then name things after what we destroyed and displaced.)
I learned to sail in off the coast of Cape Cod, taught by an old salt who knew every eddy. Like many of us whose idea of sailing means salt water and ocean currents, Ted Turner mocked the fresh water sailors of the Great Lakes. Mocked, that is, until he skippered in a yacht race across Lake Michigan and nearly drowned in a blow. The Great Lakes are a graveyard of wooden and steel vessels. They are notorious for refusing to give up their dead. Cargo ships, freighters, schooners, paddlewheel river boats, steamers, bulk carriers, whaleback freighters, ferries, and even a submarine lie at the bottom of Lake Michigan – their sailors in Davy Jones’ Locker.
Yes, we are connected to the earth. Divine mud-covered hands fashioning imago Dei. Mother Earth we call her, Gaia. But before earth, there was sea. Waters covered the face of the deep. The sea is Mother Earth’s womb. From its primal soup, carbon-based life emerged. Eons are carved into the genes of limulus, brachiopods, and horsetails. We came from the sea before we came from earth.
We can go yet further back to the star-factories that produced every natural element in the universe. It sounds new-age-y, but it’s true – we are made of stars. We are connected to all of life, all the natural world. Creation calls to us.
The call of outer space to the astronaut and astronomer.
The call of the sea to mariner and sailor.
The call of earth to gardener and (non-corporate) farmer.
The call of the forest to ornithologist and hiker.
The call of the mountains to skier and climber.
I feel close to God in nature. I reverence creation. I care for creation. I lament when people destroy her. But I do not worship creation. The natural universe is indifferent. The sea swallows its dead. People, both bad and good, die in floods, earthquakes, tornadoes. Many a back country hiker and many a mountaineer never return.
Ah, but the Creator cares. God is never indifferent. The Creator numbers every hair, is with every dying sparrow, provides for each lily, and entered history with cruciform love to make all things new. Heavens, earth, sea, and mountains proclaim Creator’s handwork. What are humans that Thou art mindful of them?
Posted on May 4, 2023, in kingdom of God, Life Coaching, Spiritual Direction. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
The careful balance of our planet, tipping ever so slightly in space, makes icicles form in winter but flowers bloom in spring.
For centuries, the same pattern teaches the trees when to let their pollen fly, and when to drop multicolored leaves to the ground.
The Creator cares, indeed! If the earth moved just a bit farther from the sun, we would have an ice age. If it moved closer to the sun, the oceans would evaporate. Either way, scores of living creatures would die in agony.
The sun and stars don’t care, but God cares! He set our globe in orbit at just the right distance from the sun for us to live comfortably here. That’s concern!
firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Hatzenbehler Central California