Poisoned Sea, Impoverished Soul: A Litany of Lament Over a Despoiled Ocean

By Ken Sehested 05-27-2010

In the beginning, darkness covered the face of the deep.

Then the Breath of Heaven swept across the waters, blessing the sea with all manner of creatures.

The sea knows its Maker and roars its applause; the fish therein leap at the sound of God's voice.

Through the baptismal waters of the Red Sea did the Israelites escape their tormentors and emerge to freedom's demand.

Surely, says the Prophet, the day will come when the whole earth will be covered with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Through the waters of obedience did Jesus enter the Way. By the Galilee Sea did he call disciples; on its waves did he come to them; by his power, its storm subdued. On its shore he revealed his resurrection insurrection.

But now, on our border, the sea has been poisoned. The deeps, made for praise, now drowning, voice hushed.

Poisoned sea, impoverished soul. Hear now our plea; come, make us whole.

The oil of sweet gladness, the mark of rejoicing, now chokes the earth's womb, its legacy crushed.

Poisoned sea, impoverished soul. Hear now our plea; come, make us whole.

The fowl overhead, the fish down below, are fouled by the rupture of greed-driven lust.

Poisoned sea, impoverished soul. Hear now our plea; come, make us whole.

Have mercy upon us, bring our hearts to repentance; and bind us again to your covenant trust.

Poisoned sea, impoverished soul. Hear now our plea; come, make us whole.

Let us now pray for the ocean and the life it supports.

Ken Sehested is co-pastor of Circle of Mercy Congregation and a stonemason in Asheville, North Carolina.

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