Beyond the Edge of Knowledge: An Ecological Hope for Lent

The Sarah Champlin
The Takhi
Easter Sunday, March 31, 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

The Takhi (spirit horse from Mongolia)

Hallelujah! Christ is risen. Easter season is upon us—all is made new. Today we turn our attention to one of the great success stories of the endangered animals: the takhi. With a name meaning “spirit,” these wild horses once roamed the Mongolian plains and inspired ancient legends about their supposed immortality. That is until Europeans and Americans got wind of these untameable horses and decided they wanted them. Their strategy of killing the uncapturable adults and stealing their foals for circuses and zoos led to the complete disappearance of takhi in the wild.

Yet this is not the end of the story of the takhi. Hope abounds. A few dedicated conservationists started a breeding program in the 1950s, and by the 1990s, the first takhis were set to be released back to their ancestral homelands. Though they were considered extinct in the wild, now they are officially considered an endangered species.

This is a resurrection story—a story for our time when the state of our planet so often brings us to the brink of despair. Easter reminds us of the essential power of hope and the promise of our God who is the Redeemer of all life. These conservationists hoped—and then they worked. They let love guide them through the impossible towards a dream: a dream that these spirit-horses would find their way back home. Gayle Boss gives us a word to lead us through this season of renewal: “Through such as these, the wild-not-impossible hope deep within each of us is born again and again into the world. Love takes flesh and makes all things new.”

May we hold onto this hope blooming within ourselves. May we take the time to celebrate joy today. Death does not have the final word—not while the Spirit lives and moves, running free across the Mongolian plains and within our hearts. Happy Easter to all! Christ is risen!

In closing, I offer this poem by Lucille Clifton, titled “spring song”:

the green of Jesus
is breaking the ground
and the sweet
smell of delicious Jesus
is opening the house and
the dance of Jesus music
has hold of the air and
the world is turning
in the body of Jesus and
the future is possible

March 31, 2024

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