Welcome! We're glad you're planning on observing
a liturgical season of creation. We have prepared some materials
for you to use in worship, teaching, and personal reflection.
The Notes on the readings for this topic are
available for you to use. You may
- copy and paste what you wish from this page directly to
your preparation materials or
- download the materials in PDF as part of a reference materials
for the individuals involved in preparing religious education,
homilies, or special liturgical materials for your Service.
here for the list.
This Sunday's topic is Oceans. The following
themes may be useful in preparing a sermon, prayers, or study:
chaos; transport by ship over
the ocean; Leviathan; schools of fish (dolphins, etc.); coral
reef providing community center; Jonah being swallowed; rising
waters; scarred bottom; floating on water; diving into water;
ruach' serene on top and teeming below; mystery because it is
hidden even in sight; bottom life/pearls; roaring of the waves;
migratory birds pass over.
- Water runs through so much of our scripture and ritual. Water
is a primary spiritual spiritual metaphor.
- Three quarters of the earth's surface is covered by water.
The ocean conceals billions of creatures interacting in ways
that we will never fully understand. Much of the ocean is mysterious.
We cruise along on boats on the ocean's surface, and sit on
beaches watching the ocean's surf meet the land. One of the
great things about the ocean is that we cannot build on it.
It will remain a vast open space perfect for contemplation.
by Family Friend Poems
- Water is the common link among the five biomes and it makes
up the largest part of the biosphere, covering nearly 75% of
the Earths surface. Aquatic regions house numerous species
of plants and animals, both large and small. In fact, this is
where life began billions of years ago when amino acids first
started to come together. Without water, most life forms would
be unable to sustain themselves and the Earth would be a barren,
desert-like place. Although water temperatures can vary widely,
aquatic areas tend to be more humid and the air temperature
on the cooler side.
of California Museum of Paleontology
Alternate Scripture Readings:
One or more of the following readings could be
used in place of those specified in the lectionary:
- Genesis 1: 1-8
- Psalm 104: 24-26
- Psalm 107: 23-32
- Job 38: 4-11
In place of or in addition to a scripture reading,
you may use an alternative reading. We offer these for your
After the storm
the sea is calm
Once dark clouds,
threatening and cold,
the light again
over now gentle waters
Peace surrounds us
Fears fade away
Chill winds that stirred
and left us cold and shaking
are now at rest.
Life again fills with light,
calming fears of life's storm
that rise within oneself.
Beyond the clouds
the sun is always shining
the sky is always blue.
Clouds change and waves
rise and fall, come and go.
The unchanging is eternal.
Storms are but awhile
and so with faith I wait!
Light overcomes darkness.
The gentle breeze
awakens my spirit.
My soul is ready for the new day.
Beautiful is God's creation and love
and I embrace the Eternal embracing me!
~ N. Ellsworth Bunce 1998
About the Oceans
(Copyright © 2005-2009 Liza's Reef)
The South Pacific
... wish I could tell you
about the South Pacific. The way it actually was. The
endless ocean. The infinite specks of coral we called
islands. Coconut palms nodding gracefully toward the ocean.
Reefs upon which waves broke into spray, and inner lagoons,
lovely beyond description. I wish I could tell you about
the sweating jungle, the full moon rising behind volcanoes,
and the waiting. The waiting. The timeless, repetitive
~James A. Michener from "Tales of the South Pacific
About the Oceans
(Copyright © 2005-2009 Liza's Reef)
for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea
About the Oceans
(Copyright © 2005-2009 Liza's Reef)
There has long been a belief that the sea, at least,
was inviolate, beyond man's ability to change and to despoil.
But this belief, unfortunately, has proved to be naive.
World (Copyright © 2004)
Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds
of a world made for man - who has no gills.
~Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
How inappropriate to call this planet 'Earth' when it
is quite clearly 'Ocean.'
~Arthur C. Clarke Source: BrainyQuote
The reason I love the sea I cannot explain - it's physical.
When you dive you begin to feel like an angel. It's a
liberation of your weight.
Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs
us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments
or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like
the homesick refugees of a long war.
~ Loren Eiseley (American essayist, philosopher, and
literary naturalist, 1907-1977) Source:
Out of the Rolling Ocean, the Crowd.
OUT of the rolling ocean, the crowd, came a drop gently
Whispering, I love you, before long I die,
I have travel'd a long way, merely to look on you, to
For I could not die till I once look'd on you,
For I fear'd I might afterward lose you .
(Now we have met, we have look'd, we are safe;
Return in peace to the ocean my love;
I too am part of that ocean, my lovewe are not so
Behold the great rondurethe cohesion of all, how
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate
As for an hour carrying us diverseyet cannot carry
us diverse for ever;
Be not impatienta little spaceknow you, I
the air, the ocean and the land,
Every day, at sundown, for your dear sake, my love.)
Walt Whitman Archive, Copyright © 19952011
Some additional readings can be found in Earth
Prayers From around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations
for Honoring the Earth, Edited by Elizabeth Roberts and
Elias Amidon; Published by Harper Colllins. The readings below
(with their authors noted) may fit within this topic.
| Allah Renee Bozarth
|Mary Rogers - Gaelic
|Pierre Teilhard de Chardin*
| Irish Blessing*
* Useful as litany or
adapted to Prayers of the People
There is a large selection of
creation-related hymns found on the MEESC Listing of Creation
and Environmental Music.
- The Crown Jewels of Earth
Coral reefs are universally considered to be one of the crown
jewels of our beautiful planet. Shallow marine habitats, coral
reefs are defined both by a physical structure and by the organisms
found on them and are found in all of the world's oceans, at all
depths, and are shallow marine habitats. They are defined by both
a physical structure and by the organisms called coral polyps
that are found on them. These have a very small cylindrical body,
topped with a ring of tentacles which are used to capture food
from the waters around them and as the polyps die, new polyps
grow on top of and next to the dead ones, and this contributes
to the gradual slow growth of the coral reef. Other types of animals
and plants, algae, sponges and mollusks also contribute however
the primary building forces are the living coral polyps. Often
referred to as the "rainforests of the sea" because
of their incredible diversity, coral reefs are home to over 4,000
species of fish, 700 species of coral species and thousands upon
thousands of other marine plants and animals.
A great number of corals have developed the ability to live in
colonies and to build up a communal structure. Some, known as
reef-building or hermatypic corals, build a stony structure out
of calcium carbonate. This type of coral reef is almost entirely
confined to warm, shallow waters, and it is their limestone skeletons
which are critical to coral reef formation. These reef building
corals do their work slowly, and some large corals may build up
their structure at a rate of just a few millimeters per year,
while the faster growing tips of branching corals may grow at
rates of 150 millimeters per year or more. Corals can only grow
in warm, well lighted waters and require a solid surface or platform
on which to grow. These factors restrict the reef building corals
to the shallow rocky waters of the tropics.
Multi-functional, reefs provide food, shelter and breeding grounds
to thousands of ocean species, protect shorelines from erosion,
and provide recreational opportunities and sources of income for
millions of people who rely on them. Although they cover less
than one percent of the ocean floor, they are home to a quarter
of the known marine plant and animal species. Twenty five percent!!!
That's a lot! And this rich, precious habitat is now being threatened
on many fronts. While they are the most spectacular of underwater
environments, they are also the most fragile. Coral reefs have
evolved over millions of years to cope with natural forces such
as hurricanes, floods, ocean currents and diseases, but they are
no match for man's destructive patterns and activities. Coastal
development, over fishing, coral mining, sewage, fertilizer and
chemical pollution, sedimentation, ocean warming and the use of
cyanide and dynamite on the reefs as fishing practices are all
taking a major toll, and they all can be traced by to man's activities.
Already over eleven percent of the world's coral reefs have been
lost to human impact and it is predicted by scientists that over
the next thirty years, up to thirty more percent could be lost
if intervention does not occur. Over sixty percent of reefs in
the world are either now severely damaged and threatened. The
loss of these coral reefs around the world would be devastating
-not only would millions of people lose their only source of food
and income, we would see the extinction of many fascinating and
beautiful ocean species, as well as lose the opportunities for
advances in science and medicine. Many corals have already provided
a number of medical break throughs in HIV and cancer treatments.
Charles Darwin is considered to be the first person to prepare
a global map of coral reefs. As a rule, coral reefs are confined
to a broad band, roughly confined to the tropics and circling
most of the planet. Unevenly distributed within this swath, large
numbers of reefs are confined to remote island locations and offshore
regions far from the mainland. Coral reefs are largely absent
from the Central Atlantic and the shores of Western Africa and
are greatly restricted along the Pacific shores of the Americas
as well as the coastline of South Asia from Pakistan to Bangladesh.
There are over 280,000 square kilometers of coral reefs worldwide,
and this figure represents only 0.089 percent of the world's oceans
and less than 1.2 percent of the world's continental shelf. The
greatest majority of coral reefs are found in the region known
as the Indo-Pacific, which stretches from the Red Sea to the Central
Pacific. For more information on specific coral reefs of the world,
visit these other sections of my website devoted to coral reefs.
Reefs (Copyright © 2005-2009 Liza's Reef)
Creating One, all that is came into being through your Naming:
skies and planets, oceans and dry land. Your creating spirit is
honored as we live with integrity toward all life. Shape our lives
to be stewards in your image, that all may be safe and nurtured
under our watchful care, in the name of Jesus who reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one for all eternity. Amen.
Some discussion topics:
- How does Scripture help us to understand the place of water
in our society and in our worship?
- Why do you think so many people distrust the scientists, and
the Arctic explorers who witness the north pole melt down?
- How can I be a more just, sharing steward of all the water
sources around me?
- Share some of you experiences with the Ocean
- What difference would it make to you, to future generations
if coral reefs were destroyed and fish stocks depeleted?
- One can apply a variant of the Gospel Based Discipleship
questions to almost any reading or situation:
A. What particularly jumps out at you or gets your attention?
B. What is this reading/information/situation saying to us?
C. What is this reading/information/situation calling us to
Revised Common Lectionary
Readings for Easter 2, Year A:
PDF Version of these notes:
Note: The Reflections and Notes for
this Sunday were prepared by the Rev Wanda Copeland, with
contributions from the Rev Margaret W. Thomas, the Rev Tom
Harries, and John G. Gibbs, PhD.