Beyond the Edge of Knowledge: An Ecological Hope for Lent

The Reverend Christine V. Hides
Sumatran Orangutan
Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2024

“Every single creature is full of God
and is a book about God.
Every creature is a word of God.
If I spend enough time with the tiniest creature,
even a caterpillar,
I would never have to prepare a sermon.
So full of God is every creature.”
Meister Eckhart

Mother and baby Sumatran Orangutan

Mother Sumatran Orangutans weave two sturdy nests per day for their young in the Indonesian forest. Gayle Boss names these nests the “siesta nest and nighttime nest.” The nest must be strong enough to hold the 100 lb. mother, her baby, and an older sibling. Snuggled together they sleep safely in the canopy.

Jesus employs mothering imagery of safety in Luke 13 saying, “I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing.” Like the mother Sumatran Orangutan whose habitat is being felled for palm oil plantations, Jesus understands the human obstacles to creating spaces of refuge.

As we begin to take a closer look at the beautiful and threatened species Gayle Boss writes so eloquently about in her book Wild Hope, the challenges to their survival can feel overwhelming. Yet our goal in this daily devotional is twofold: to learn from these animals who Meister Eckhart describes as “so full of God” and to find the middle way between despair and doing nothing.

Trusting in God’s desire to gather all creation underwing, how might we join God’s work through our awareness and action? On the island of Sumatra there are people who gather up the orphaned orangutans and do their best to teach them the ways of the rainforest. Here in the United States we can search for food, shampoos, and detergents that use no palm oil or use sustainable palm oil to help ease the demand for what threatens the Orangutans’ canopy.

Prayer: God whose deepest desire is to gather creation into your divine nest, show us the way toward hope and meaningful action this Lenten season.

February 14, 2024

Join our Mailing List

Share This