Hope within Creation: Sunday
Sunday March 7, 2021
Created by Pastor Drew Tucker
Psalm 148:7 (NIV)
“Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths.”
When I think of the aquatic animals that praise God, I don’t think first of octopi or narwhals, though those are certainly cool creatures. Nor do I think of Leviathan, the famed mythic serpent monster so common in scripture. I think of manatees.
Not only because we have a lot in common — we’re both round, slow, and happiest in warm Caribbean waters — but because one of the formative experiences of my life in God’s creation was swimming with manatees in Homosassa Springs, FL. Long before I was Pastor Drew, I was a nine-year-old, fascinated with biology and nature. After my elder brother left for college at West Point, my parents took me on a vacation that was, in part, a way for us to enter into the new era where they had one child at home and I had to figure out how to get out of trouble without Matt to blame for my mistakes.
So we took a tour with a local marina, known for humane treatment of these majestic animals, out to the warm waters of the ocean marshes, and manatees slowly rolled through the depths. Donning snorkels and wetsuits, we swam alongside them, neither with them nor apart from them, but a kind of estuary of humanity and the manatees.
Manatees remind me of praising God because, despite all their traumatic treatment by humanity — sport hunting in the past and countless scars from careless boat propellers at present — manatees still inhabit a slow, pleasant, intentional approach to life. Like God, despite all of people’s failures, manatees manage to still coexist with humanity, even appreciate humans, especially those that bring romaine lettuce or cabbage to share.
By their very existence, manatees praise God by reflecting God’s patience, even God’s slowness, with us. Even more so, they, like God, invite us to slow down, to experience life alongside them, to stop rushing from one place to the next in ways that traumatize our neighbors, but instead swim along on the graceful tides. So thank God for the hope we see amidst creation amidst the manatees.
Good and gracious God, help us to find hope in this weary season. Amen.