We are all pilgrims on a journey. My journey began in infancy in the Christian tradition. It, along other sources I’ve found along the way, continues to shape and guide me.
I often think about the first Christians. As I was growing up, I remember painting them.
The first Christians had a sense of urgency.
Their beliefs were met with resistance. But their bond was stronger. Secretly, they would scrawl their emblematic symbol of a fish on walls to communicate with one another, build fellowship, and spread their ideas.
They were denied, but they persevered. They united – thinking of the whole before the self–and built community. They spoke their truth, acted on their faith and survived. In time, like the five loaves and two fish of the Gospel, their numbers multiplied.
The two ensuing millennia have brought remarkable change to that church and to the planet: Many of the fish that were abundant when Jesus lived are now critically endangered.
They are struggling for survival as Earth undergoes its sixth mass extinction. Unlike the five before, this one is being caused by human impacts on local ecosystems and global climate.
Today, Christians—along with their brothers and sisters across the globe who pray to no or other gods–are being asked to act to save the planet and each other from themselves.
As a global community we must come together as the first Christians did and think of the greater good.
We must learn to love the world and those who live there—including the animals we coevolved with.
We must again learn to love one another, including the generations not yet born.
Miami artist Xavier Cortada created this digital using his pencil drawing of the Zinger Asper five years earlier. The fresh water fish is one of the 360 endangered animals originally featured in Cortada’s Endangered World: North Pole Installation on June 29, 2008