By CLIVE BUTCHER
Saturday 16 October 2021
20 And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
Genesis 1: 20-23
The creation story continues, a world has been created but is empty, the next part of God's plan unfolds. We see how precious the birds of the air and the creatures of the sea are to God. The raven and dove feature in the story of Noah, in the New Testament Mary and Joseph offer as a sacrifice for their firstborn a 'pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons' (Luke 2: 24). Psalm 104 speaks of Leviathan 'Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great. There go the ships and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it' (Psalm 104: 25-26). The, perhaps slightly implausible story of Jonah and the large fish is familiar to us and Jesus after his resurrection ate fish with his disciples having guided them to a large catch.
Yet once again human neglect and action is a threat, worldwide 14% of birds are at risk of extinction as a result of habitat loss and climate change. We have seen changes in our own country, the tree sparrow has declined by 95% since 1970! The practice of factory chicken farming is hard to justify.
Our treatment of the seas and oceans is little better with over fishing, loss of coral reefs due to climate change and plastic pollution.
What can we do ? There are websites advising on the types of fish we can eat that are sustainable (the Marine Conservation Society has a good fish guide). We can all reduce our use of plastics which break down into small particles called microplastics and can be found in the stomachs of marine animals around the world.
Our individual impact may be small but together we can show our respect for the life in the air and sea resulting from Gods abundant love.
Prayer: Anonymous, from 'Saying Yes to Life '
Prayer from young person in Vanuatu
be the canoe that holds me in the sea of life,
be the steer that keeps me straight,
be the outrigger that supports me in time of great temptation.
Let your Spirit be my sail that carries me through each day,
as I journey steadfastly on the long voyage of life.