Wild Hope – Review
Wild Hope: Stories for Lent from the Vanishing, by Gayle Boss, January 2020. Paraclete Press, ISBN: 978-1640601994, 125 pages. RRP £16.99
If you want to do something different for Lent next year, this is the book for you. Each of the 25 sections describes the state of an animal or insect, its relationship to human beings and how its life is threatened by our actions. Those actions vary from the careless use of lines (whales), through the threat of ivory poachers (African elephants), to climate change (tropical corals).
Each section considers various threats, except the first which, for Ash Wednesday, includes a meditation on the state of the Orangutans in Sumatra , threatened by the burning of the forests and the planting of oil palms. The final section lists the organisations trying to counter these threats to biodiversity and to prevent what may be the sixth global extinction of life. The threats are listed as The Hungry, The Sick, The Homeless, The Poisoned, The Hunted and The Desecrated. Unusually for a Lent course there are no Bible readings or prayers. Perhaps we need to pray for each creature, whether pangolin or mussel, but the texts moved me also to consider prayers for both our human condition and the human threat to God’s biodiversity.
It is a “wild” book of text and full-page illustrations which describes the pain now felt by many creatures because of humanity’s carelessness and greed. My immediate reaction to these texts was to be critical, but reading it in depth has led me to a re-evaluation. Through sensitive prayers and readings (not all biblical) we learn to shed tears for the unthinking cruelty of human beings. This book could start a local rethink of how diverse nature is and how we humans have been given the task to sustain creation and not to destroy it.
Next: Humankind – Review
Previous: The Future We Choose – Review