Monday, October 11, 2010


10/10/10 Work Party

“Look what I found!”  A small but congenial group had gathered at Lake Hastings today for a WDWT (Walking, De-Trashing, Worshiping, and Talking) Celebration, our contribution to the worldwide 10/10/10 environmental work parties coordinated by today. Because of repairs being done on the dam at Lake Hastings, the water level is down, exposing sand and lots of things buried in the sand. We were finding lots of glass, many plastic drinking straws and cup lids, remnants of plastic bags, and other such pieces of trash that one would expect to find.

My unexpected find was an unbroken half of a large mussel shell.  I’ve found pieces of shells along the lake recently since the water level was lowered, and even a couple of smaller unbroken halves, but this one is six inches long with a lovely mother of pearl lining.

As I approached my friend Karen with my treasure, she held up something on a chain and said, “Look what I found – a crucifix!” Karen had seen a little bit of the chain sticking out of the sand; when she pulled on it, she found a closed circular chain with a crucifix that was crusted with dirt, rust, and sand.

We had two parts to the work party: walking and picking up trash was the first part, and the second part -- keeping in mind that liturgy is the work of the people -- was a time for group reflection and a short liturgy from the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program called The Poverty of Global Climate Change, a reminder that people living in poverty are hurt first and worst by climate change.

While walking we took note of the things around us this pleasant autumn day for which we were grateful, then shared some of those things when we got back together. I shared my joy in finding a good-sized freshwater shell; it brought back memories of finding shells along Lake Erie as child, and finding one this size was a surprise for me. I also shared my concern about the future of shellfish in the oceans as the amount of carbon in the atmosphere increases and the ocean becomes more acidic. (See for example this article  in the Yale Environment 360 digest.) Someone else talked about the contrast between the apparent beauty of the lake and the shards of glass and other trash we found as we looked more closely. She said it’s easy to avoid looking at the dangerous things in our world and to pretend everything is fine.

The encrusted crucifix is another cause for gratitude; it seems like a good symbol for this day when we set out in Christ’s name to do a little bit to help repair God’s creation. Finding the crucifix was a reminder of the grace we find when we are willing to look at the world around us, at both its joys and its sorrows, and to serve as the Body of Christ to see and know those needs, to name the truth of those needs, and bring help and healing.

I brought the crucifix home and have been soaking and cleaning it for several hours. Sometime mid-evening, I realized there was some sort of inscription on the back, and now just enough letters have emerged to make it possible to decipher the message: Christ is counting on me.

1 comment:

  1. What a perfect found "treasure" for 350 Day. The inscription can apply to so many things that Christ is counting on us to do. Something we all need to remember.