Baptism Mark 1: 2-11

On the North Shore of the Salton Sea
the children have asthma.
They carry inhalers.

Their parents work land
they do not own
by the largest lake in California,
once flood plain of the Colorado River,
now a place where, year after year,
pesticide and fertilizer wash down.

Fish are choked by algae blooms
from nitrates and phosphates.
Poisoned in the pause of migration
are egrets and herons,
gulls, white pelicans and terns.
Bees die in the hives,
while children are sent home
from school when the dust blows.

This is the water of death
I happen to know,
but there are so many more,
as well as death by dry.

It is no wonder we begin
with John’s call for repentance,
and a confession of sin.

Jesus would not recognize the words –
agricultural runoff,

but he began
by going in over his head.

Salton Sea Wikipedia Commons labeled non-commercial use.

(Some material from Sierra Club Magazine, Vol 103.No.1)

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2 Responses to Baptism Mark 1: 2-11

  1. mbmankin says:

    Maren, Thank you for this! The images for need for repentance are endless… and I will now always think of Jesus’ baptism as his “going in over his head”! 🙂 I guess that’s what we need to do to make a difference!

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