creation. our common home

The Earth Quakes, a Shark Dies: Sharing "Our Common Home"

Last month in Kodiak I was sitting in bed, making a list of all I had to do before I flew out to fish camp when it happened. The washing machine was spinning, wiggling the bed. No, wiggling the bed way too much and then a grinding sound, louder and louder and by the time I realized what it was, and had jumped up to flee my house on a cliff over the ocean, it stopped.  It was a 7.4 quake.

This week, out on Harvester Island, standing in the kitchen talking with Suzannah and that washing machine again, spinning too hard, then a jolt and I knew sooner this time. It was only a 4.7 but the epicenter was just 16 miles from us.

We're in a major earthquake zone here on Kodiak Island. Out at our fish camp island, volcanoes tooth our horizon, spewing their ash at will. The earth rumbles and rolls beneath us. For many of you, the earth has rumbled and rolled in another way----the Supreme Court rulings this week have shaken history and not a few foundations. But there is no need for worry or panic or fear. God is still and always on the throne. And when the earth shakes we remember that all the earth is alive and it is alive because it is HIS, and nothing is beyond his reach or His concern. May I bring you with me on my morning beach walk? I want you to see for yourself.

It started here:

the Sitka black-tailed deer down on the beach, who love the water as much as I do, 

Who do not run away from me or any of us, but who come closer, to see who we might be,

Perhaps they are struck by our beauty, as we are theirs . .. . 

And the gaze goes down, then, to my feet, to the creatures there,  

who, even while living their one short life toward dying, blaze and flame with such colors

 Even under water, 

bloodstars and vacant crabs,

And on the rocks, splayed in brilliant orange and purple, because the world is not ever bright enough . . . 

And every millionth rock on a black beach must be


in case we forget . . ..

And surely there is no death in this place? 

But surely there is, for we all know what it costs to keep us alive and to keep others breathing and fed . . . 

Death always finds us here. Our beaches are always open for the dead to wash ashore . . . 

We cannot help but stare back  . . . 

                               (A salmon shark)

Even when we feel so alone on the beach, on the 

mountain, in this world, 

Even then, we imagine

that all this,

All this

is Ours.

Our very own. 

Given to us by



To use as WE want.

But it has never been so. The First Man and Woman were placed into a world  already full and bright and teeming with creatures winged, creeping, galloping and swimming.

And they were all already blessed:
"You are Very Good! Be fruitful and multiply!" their Creator spoke,
before we even showed up. 

Yes, we alone of all the creation are made in the image of God, the Imago Dei, and are given rule over creation, but what is this rule to be? 
We must honor God's blessing of those before us. We must use and cultivate the earth in such a way that the birds of the air, the fish and all creeping things, whom God delights in and pronounces “very good”—the same words used for humans---can also feed, multiply and flourish,
as we do.

That all creatures may feed, multiply and flourish. 

 We are here for this: to bless. To bless one another, and to bless the creatures who share the earth and sea and sky with us.

The Pope in his recent encyclical is right. This IS
Our Common Home. 

And we must share this world with our fellow creatures
as I share this beach and island with all who live here, 
just as you do with all the creatures who share your woods, fields, islands and hillsides, backyards and lakes.

Lay down your worry and fear over court decisions. God is not shaken, nor are we. 
Walk in the piece of Creation God has brought you.
Be who we are created to be: a blessing
to your neighbors,  and to all
the magnificent beings around us. 

Let us walk in our "common home" in such a way that our presence
 blesses creation and all of these creatures, human and not, 
as much as they
bless us.
And be at peace.