The Common Good

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

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.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)