When Killer Whales Come to Town

When the orcas come to town---things happen. The harbor gets noisy. Sea lions get nervous. They bellow and shout with fright. Listen to this guy . ...

They've seen the clips on Youtube of their relatives serving as snacks and aperitifs. They know the score.  

Here, maybe their third cousin out at our fish camp, bearing the wounds on his back from a tangle with a killer whale . ..

We watch sea lions every day out at our fish camp  They'll haul out together, living communally on a single rock, but in the water? They are almost always alone, on the perpetual hunt for food alone, lone wolf, lone lion on the smooth prowl. 

But here, now, in the harbor, something else is needed. It's a small pod of orcas. Just four by my count. And they're not large. These may be adolescents? Just small. But they have teeth. They swim fast. 

 Any orca is a hungry orca. So now under threat they are buddies, these lions, hardly stirring a liquid foot from the guy next to them. They're a pack a writhing worms now, moving in a single motion. 

Boats come and go, but nothing distracts them from the whale watch. (And you thought humans were the only ones who watch whales?) They rise from the water like gophers from their holes, scanning for the blast, the blow, the dorsal fin . . .  They watch frantically for hours . ..  now days. At least three days they've been panicked, flustered and clustered.

We watch the little whales----and watch the people watching . . . 

(see the sealions in the L. corner watching the orcas in the top R. corner)


       What do I have to say about all this? I observe, mostly wordless, camera to my face, seeing stories all around me.

     I have been watching for two days. And this is the story I see today. I am reading through the New Testament, and am in the book of Acts, where thousands came to know who Jesus truly was. 

"Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. . . . So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people."

It's a beautiful picture of unity. Imagine being "of one heart and soul"  "of one accord" with many men and women!!  I am thinking of this because I have just found out that a childhood friend, a pastor, has left the pulpit and his family for something else, for someone else . . . He leaves his children, his wife, his congregation, all of whom he once said he would have died for---he leaves them now to love another woman. He leaves them all.

These creatures teach my cracking heart again this truth: we need each other.  We need each other to stay alive. Something is always after us. Sometimes it's ideas. Sometimes people are in pursuit of us. Sometimes our worst selves lie in wait for our best. We wont' always see the dorsal fin, the intent to harm, but someone else may see it. It's dangerous to live alone, to listen to no one but yourself. Or that one dangerous other . . . 

I will not press these creatures for any further sermon---just this: we're all in a lifelong battle, with much against us. If you know God and the One he sent, Jesus, then you are not alone.  But if you have no church, no people who lift you in prayer, in love, who cluster around you when danger comes, you are more alone than Jesus wants. He came that "we may be one," as He and his father are one. He died that we may be "of one heart and soul." He rose to send us the Holy Spirit to make all this possible, true, and real. 

Even the sea lions know at least this: they need each other if they want to live another day. 

 And we do as well.