Worshipping With the Dolphins -- Rev. Julie Long
God spoke: "Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life!
Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!"
God created the huge whales,
all the swarm of life in the waters,
And every kind and species of flying birds.
God saw that it was good.
God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Ocean!
Birds, reproduce on Earth!"
It was evening, it was morning— Day Five.
– Genesis 1:20-23 (The Message)
While the rest of the congregation was gathering at the Top of Poplar last Sunday morning, our 3rd-5th graders were experiencing a new way of worshipping God. We were at Sea World Orlando on a sleepover with the dolphins. “Worshipping,” you may ask, “At Sea World?” Believe me when I say that the prayers voiced were not only the ones on the top of the roller coasters’ hills! As I watched our children explore and discover the majesty of God’s creation, I uttered prayers of “Wow!” and “Amen” and “Thank you.”
Our worship was not traditional, to be sure, but if worship includes being overwhelmed with awe and wonder at God’s works and being deeply grateful for the gifts of life that we experience, then yes, we were worshipping.
We worshipped God in awe as we watched dolphins and killer whales flip through the air and soar along the waters at the command of their trainers. We marveled at the relationships these animals and humans shared, and how love and respect was evident.
We offered God words of amazement as we interacted with the animals ourselves, dribbling basketballs and tossing Frisbees for the dolphins to frolic after. We were reminded of just how deeply we are connected to each other and to the rest of God’s creation.
We were empowered to care for God’s creation as we learned of ways we can protect these animals and other parts of God’s creation, remembering that we are called by God to be caretakers of the earth.
Finally, we sounded prayers of thanksgiving for the gifts of learning, growing friendships, experiencing new and exciting things, and for being a part of the lives of these beautiful children.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!