April 12, 2019 Psalm 148 Donna Cook
“Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. The Lord established them forever and ever; The Lord fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.” (v. 5-6)
Monarch Butterflies became a complex “back to school“ sign for me in the 1980s. I was teaching in High Ridge and living in Lafayette Square. During a walk in the park I noticed what looked like orange flags or ribbons all over the shrubs that were around the small pond near the park entrance. They looked like those little flags that the utility companies use to mark their lines. Why were they all over the shrubbery? It wasn’t flags, it was butterflies, at least 100 butterflies! Monarch Butterflies all over the shrubbery! (Yes, I’m saying shrubbery, repeatedly.) I had never seen anything like it. I saw a similar vision outside of my school one day. The school neighbor hadn’t mown his lawn and the clover flowers were blooming beautiful purple. They too, were covered with orange butterflies galore. Around the world people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope and new life.
I learned that the monarchs migrate through our area during “back to school time”. ( I often think of them as little orange and black school buses, heading off to school with a crew of kids starting a new year.) I now relish every monarch I see fly by during those months and try to lure them to my yard. (I have a friend in Baltimore who hatched out over 100 monarchs in her back yard last summer. I am so jealous.) I keep looking for those visions and I know they are rare to see in my own community.
As I learn more about butterflies I now know they migrate to special areas in Mexico and along our southwestern border. One of those areas is clearly in danger. The most diverse butterfly sanctuary in the county, the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas and other protected ares in the lower Rio Grande Valley are under threat from the current administration’s plan to build a extensive border wall. In December 2018 the US Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing the current administration to waive 28 federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act and to begin construction on 33 new miles of border wall in the heart of the river valley – and right through the butterfly center. This project will include a 30 ft tall concrete and steel wall, roads and a 150 ft “reinforcement zone” where all vegetation will be cleared.
At this writing heavy equipment has arrived on the site and bulldozing may begin soon. Local inhabitants fear for the destroyed habitat, the ecotourism and the undocumented immigrants that are pushed further into marginal and dangerous areas.
The Psalmist (and God) surely would condemn any action that would drive a species to extinction or endanger human lives. We can’t claim to have dominion over God’s gift of the earth and all that is in it (Gen. 1:26) if we allow government policy and our own actions and inactions to “diminish the praises of earth and heaven.” We need to protect creation’s capacity to praise it’s Creator.
More information can be found here.
Prayer: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for the Lord’s name alone is exalted. The Lord’s glory is above heaven and earth.” (v.13)