An Invitation to Wonder: the Great Barrier Reef


"She realized life was a wonderful mysterious thing full of persistent beauty." LM Montgomery, Emily of New Moon


Welcome to  An Invitation to Wonder, a mini-series on the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Each post will focus on one different natural wonder. This is the first post of  7.

Off the Australian coast

floral coral for miles  (an area of some 135,000 square miles)

900 islands

fringes and ribbons of reefs

a labyrinth of complexity

both a place and a living thing

which can even be seen from outer space,

or by diving in deep, riding in glass bottom boats and snorkeling

imagine colonies of clownfish, sponges, lobsters, turtles, birds, and shells

golden sand

clear blues of aqua marine, azure found only in dreams

an untamed place of jellyfish, swordfish, sharks, and snakes

diverse, complex, and beautiful

the Great Barrier Reef

This week I came across a quote from Madeleine L'Engle from her book Walking on Water; Reflections of Faith and Art.

"Ridicule is a terrible witherer of the flower of imagination. It binds us where we should be free."

It is the weight of shame in all kinds of forms, the mocking voice and the sarcastic slant that tries to wither away at the wonder of this world.

While I was reading about the vibrant coral reef, I learned different ways the beauty of the coral is threatened or destroyed.

"The most destructive reef animal is the crown of thorns starfish which has reduced the color and the attraction of many of the central reefs by eating much of the living coral."

Crown of thorns starfish, it makes me think of Jesus, and the crown of thorns  placed on his head to mock him. What a fitting name for something that dulls and destroys the color of coral reef. Ridicule, mockery, guilt, and shame all tend to do that to the soul; dim the color and the life.

Thankfully we are crowned with beauty, love, and compassion.

"Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion." Psalms 103:2-4

"You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God." Isaiah 62:3

Sometimes it seems the only place we can come to find this love is at the feet of Jesus.

Thank you Jesus for being our safe place. Our place of no guilt. only love. No ridicule only compassion and kindness. Help us be kind too.

One reason I wanted to start out with the Great Barrier Reef, is because it is a living structure. It is not just a place. This living structure is filled with complexity and diversity, all connected and interdependent. It reminds me of the body of Christ.

It is interesting to note that coral loses it's color when it is cut off, it must be connected to the reef. This is a reminder for us to stay connected to the body of Christ.

Also, the name of this Natural Wonder makes me think of our one uniting factor. We all have the same great barrier that has been removed, and therefore we are crowned with love and compassion.