Monday, June 8, 2015

World Oceans Day - June 8

photo by my nephew Mark Tipple, The Underwater Project
The Church of Norway defines diakonia this way: “Diakonia is the caring ministry of the church. It is the Gospel in action and is expressed through loving your neighbour, creating inclusive communities, caring for creation and struggling for justice”.

A theological understanding of diaconal service includes caring for creation, and extends to the welfare of the oceans. People are to live with respect and humility within God's creation, and called to care for the earth and limit destructive activities such as those that contribute to climate change. Being good stewards or custodians leads to a reciprocal relationship between people and the earth. We are dependent on the earth and must take care of it. If we do so, the land and oceans will yield bounty sufficient for all. Conversely, if human societies damage the earth, people suffer.

The ocean is the heart of our planet. Like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body, the ocean connects people across the Earth, no matter where we live. The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more! In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we take the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us.

photo by Mark Tipple
This year, the theme is Healthy oceans, healthy planet. Unfortunately, human pressures, including over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas.

Why do we celebrate World Oceans Day each year?
  • To remind everyone of the major part the ocean has in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe.
  • To inform the public on the impact of the human actions on the ocean.
  • To develop a worldwide movement of citizen, towards the ocean.
  • To mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world ocean. They are a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere.
  • To celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.
While we can't do much directly about the health of our oceans, we can all contribute by decreasing our use and disposal of plastic bags. Around 80% of marine litter originates from the land, and most of that is plastic. Plastic that pollutes our oceans and waterways has severe impacts on our environment and our economy. Seabirds, whales, sea turtles and other marine life are eating marine plastic pollution and dying from choking, intestinal blockage and starvation. Scientists are investigating the long-term impacts of toxic pollutants absorbed, transported, and consumed by fish and other marine life, including the potential effects on human health.

Desmond Tutu: Five Facts for Healthy and Happy oceans.

A prayer
Forgive us, dear ocean, for all that we have done to harm you. There is light in us and we send it out on this night to the ocean, the earth, and all the creatures that inhabit this planet. May this great force that is within us be strong enough to heal us. We are all one: the earth, the ocean, everything—every one. © Copyright 2010 Holly Wilson

A youtube clip meditation on the ocean.

 SONG OF THE WATERS  (tune: Praise my soul, the King of Heaven)

1. Watch once more the windswept storm clouds;
Suddenly the sky has wings!
God has come to rain among us,
Giving hope to all dry things.
Sing a song of splashing waters,
Pulsing through the veins of Earth.

2. Taste the moisture of the morning,
Smoother than the best red wine;
Toast the lifeblood of the planet:
Here’s to God’s great vast design!
Sing a song of flowing waters,
Pulsing through the veins of Earth.

3. View anew the dark blue ocean,
Whales cavorting, spraying foam;
God at play with deep sea monsters,
Feeling very much at home.
Sing a song of laughing waters,
Pulsing through the veins of Earth.

4. Feel the breath of God move softly,
Gentle mists that brush the skin;
Earth is breathing God’s own spirit,
Life renewed from deep within.
Sing a song of living waters,
Pulsing through the veins of Earth.
Words: © Norman Habel 2001

Other resources here

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