|Image by Ray in Manila|
Rising Sea Levels: 2
I cry to you, please, God of my ancestors,
Creator of the seas,
Ruler of all creation— hear my prayer.
(Judith 9:12 TIB)
Then he took a seed from the land, placed it in fertile soil; a plant by abundant waters, he set it like a willow twig. It sprouted and became a vine, spreading out, but low; its branches turned towards him, its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine; it brought forth branches, put forth foliage. There was another great eagle, with great wings and much plumage. And see! This vine stretched out its roots towards him; it shot out its branches towards him, so that he might water it. From the bed where it was planted it was transplanted to good soil by abundant waters, so that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
(Song of Songs 8:7)
Note: a derecho is a windstorm that precedes hurricanes and floods
And the high winds bore down, and the sky
built up that grey wall: derecho.
The taverns by the sea closed their shutters,
and the stands selling battered fries, derecho.
On the boardwalk, pieces of salt-water taffy, half-
eaten funnel cakes oozing grease and cream: derecho.
And the people on every highway, panicked, sought
a clear route for their exodus: derecho
What’s in your emergency backpack? Beef jerky, mineral
water, flashlight, solar cells? Snap in the sound of derecho.
Yesterday, white and blue sails pretty on the water;
sharp glint of skyscraper glass. Then this derecho.
- "Derecho Ghazal" by Luisa A. Igloria
Verse for the Day
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.
|Image by Ray in Manila|
In today’s reading the prophet Ezekiel is relaying a promise from God that where a seed is planted near abundant waters, it will be transplanted to good soil and bear fruit. This is an agricultural practice we all can relate to when we bring out our seedlings that we have carefully watered in the winter and plant them in our spring gardens. But what happens when the “abundant waters” are more than human life can sustain, or when extraordinary weather produces catastrophic water as in the typhoons and tsunamis of the past two decades? The people of The Philippines have a close familiarity with extreme weather: between 1997 and 2016 more than twenty-three thousand people have died from natural disasters there. Manila, in The Philippines is one of the cities in the world considered most at risk from rising sea levels. In the artist video below, we hear Filipino street artist A.G. Saño describe how he walked from Rome to Paris in 2015 with colleagues and friends to draw the attention of the United Nations Climate Change Summit, then taking place in Paris, to the vulnerability of The Philippines to climate change. He also did it as a tribute to a friend he lost in the Super Typhoon Haiyam in 2013. Walking, for him, is a form of prayer, in which he holds close those he prays for with every step. In his epic mural tribute to his friend, Saño brings his walking prayer to a place of creative outlet and political protest. He is giving voice to the hundreds of thousands of people in his country who are vulnerable to loss of home, means of living and even their lives. This article, published just two weeks ago, offers a vivid picture of life in Manila, including communities like Pariahan, where the water regularly floods homes and the people have learned to adapt and expect it, despite the sanitary and health issues it presents. Acclaimed Filipina poet Luisa Igloria gives us a sense of how suddenly and rapidly life can change. Artists like Saño and Igloria have become the “vine” promised by God with Ezekiel, growing the message of climate emergency. In our song today, we hear the lyric, “The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on; Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene: one step enough for me.” God holds all our feet, whether in the midst of disaster itself, or in the walking prayers of those who seek to uphold life and sustain communities impacted by catastrophic water. When you are walking through the events of your day today, how can you use that time to pray for those affected by rising sea levels in island nations?
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LC† Reimagining Justice is a project of
Lutherans Connect / Lutheran Campus Ministry Toronto,
supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
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