Ecological Stations of the Cross

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Tanker in the Burrard Inlet near the proposed end of the Kinder Morgan Transmountain pipeline

This liturgical resource was assembled by members of Salal + Cedar (www.salalandcedar.com) and Earthkeepers (www.theearthkeepers.org) two Christian environmental groups on Coast Salish Territory, lower mainland British Columbia who host an Ecological Stations of the Cross each year during Holy Week. Stations of the Cross are a Good Friday tradition of prayer and contemplation on images depicting the events from the time that Jesus is sentenced to death to his burial. We walk outdoors at a site slated for the expansion of a tar-sands bearing pipeline and draw connections between Jesus’ suffering and the suffering and betrayal of creation. The traditional passion narrative from John (18:1-19:42) moves from the betrayal and arrest in the garden to Jesus’ burial. Our stations include action, poetry, song and contemplation when we read from John we use the word Judeans (a more accurate and less anti-semetic translation) instead of “the Jews.”  Themes include: repentance, culpability, betrayal, complicity, empire, suffering, compassion, power/powerlessness, death, lament, longing despair, hope and hopelessness, outrage.

Coast Salish Territory
Water Station (overlook)

Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters. Isaiah 55:1

And Jesus, knowing that all was now finished said, “I thirst.” John 19:28

Here where Fraser River, the Sto:lo, flows into the Salish Sea, where parts of our region are temperate rainforest, our reservoirs are full and we consign gallons of clean drinking water to the sewers with every flush –we can forget, or even ignore, those who thirst.

But in BC the Nazko, Alexis Creek, and Lake Babine First Nations, under boil-water advisories or other water accessibility issues for 16 years.

In Michigan the people of Flint poisoned by poisonous politicians and poisoned drinking water. The people of Detroit setting up community water stations to protect their neighbours whose water has been cut-off.

Indigenous water walkers, women carrying water in a copper bucket around the great lakes.

In the global South coastal communities devastated by climate-change caused  storms and flooding.

Melting permafrost, hydro-fracking, tailings ponds, tanker spills, water from Kwakawa lake sold to Nestle, tens of thousands of sources and waterways removed from protection, the threat of the site C dam

We are looking out over the Burrard inlet where in the past months Kinder Morgan has without consultation and consent been drilling bore holes for their tanker dock project. And where some of us have taken small actions on the land and on the water to protect the sacredness of this place.

Water is the blood that flows through this wounded body. The rivers that connect us, parts of the body, are the veins that carry the life-blood to creatures, to peoples. Water is life, interconnected, flowing, nurturing all created beings. Water is our sacred bond. Dispersed light in water droplets is the rainbow, the Creator’s inter-species, inter-generational covenant with us. But water is also our vulnerability:

We cannot live without it and like water we are so easily polluted, diverted, compromised, commodified,

In the water and the world around us, Christ is crucified every day. But we do not honour our baptisms, we do not wash each others’ feet, instead we wash our hands.

The Easter promise is not for complacency, but for collaboration.

At his baptism, Christ submerged himself in the waters, immersed himself in his watershed, as he claimed his radical ministry of transformation. We are invited to go also: go to the waters in our lament for the violence and destruction of our earth; go to the waters for repentance, for our participation in the racist and capitalist systems that destroy earth and her peoples; go to waters to spill our tears for those whose lives were lost protecting them; go to the waters for blessing in our work of justice and in our commitment to transformation; go to the waters for connection, for wholeness, for oneness with creation, with one another and with our wounded healer, the crucified, and yet resurrected, Body of our God.

Let justice roll down like a mighty river and righteousness like an unending stream. Amen Amos 5:24

–adapted from Jennifer Henry, Toronto Good Friday walk

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