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The Balance of Life

8 June 2024

By Susan Oxley, Seattle, Washington, USA

And you will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every person according to that which is their due.

Mosiah 2:24, adapted

World Oceans Day

Alki Beach is only fifteen minutes away from where I live. The water lapping gently onto the sand is connected through Puget Sound to the vast Pacific, the largest and deepest of Earth’s five oceans.

I can imagine an uninterrupted flow of water from Alki Beach to the shores of the Arctic, where glacial ice is melting too fast. I feel connected to the islands of Fiji and French Polynesia, where the rising seas are drowning beaches and threatening homes of friends of mine. The pleasantly warm water splashing over my toes is not so kind to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, where warming seas have killed half of the coral formations in the past thirty years.

Our oceans are suffering—quietly, dangerously, unseen. For a century they have been absorbing the heat from extra greenhouse gases in our atmosphere that trap the sun’s rays. The oceans have protected us from the worst of the warming effects since the Industrial Revolution. But the change has been too rapid, beyond the normal cycles of warming and cooling that usually take place over millennia, not decades. Fish, coral, plankton, and marine mammals can’t adapt quickly to higher temperatures and greater acidity. Ocean ecosystems are becoming fragile and unstable, threatening the oceanic food chain.

I stand on Alki Beach, aware of the ways I am connected—to friends across the Pacific, to bleached corals, to Arctic polar bears and orca whales. How can we provide loving care for the oceans that sustain us? We must do more than clean up the beaches and make safe, sustainable seafood choices. We must support sustainable fishing practices and speak out against deep-sea mining. We can decrease plastic use and wasteful consumption. We can advocate for clean energy as an alternative to the fossil fuels that warm our atmosphere.

On World Oceans Day, offer a prayer of thanks and praise to God for our marine biodiversity. Remember the balance of life that depends on clean, thriving, stable ocean currents, processes, and organisms. Add your voice to those who advocate for our oceans. May God hear our prayers and assist us to respond and make a difference!

Prayer Phrase

“We, who are many, are one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5).

Spiritual Practice

Spiritual Learning

Meditate on a time when you learned about community from someone who took you in, fed you, taught you, shared stories and wisdom with you. What did you learn? Prayerfully create a list of qualities you need to learn from spiritual mentors and friends. Then write the names of people who serve as teachers, models, coaches, or encouragers in your life as a disciple. Offer a prayer of gratitude and blessing for these spiritual “relatives” and friends.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.


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