Faithful Tardigrades

Rebekah Smith

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?

~~ Romans 8:24, NRSV

Are you a Cosmos fan?  Will you watch the new “Possible Worlds” premier (Season 3 of the Cosmos franchise) on Fox tonight?  (Maybe you already caught it on the Nat. Geo. Channel where it has aired starting in March).  I hope to stay abreast with it on Fox when it premieres tonight.  I have been watching the original Cosmos series in recent weeks, to try and get my head back into the science world.  I’m a guy that is far better suited to mathematics and theology … but I loved Cosmos.

A few weeks ago, in an early episode, I again came across the story of the Tardigrades … a microscopic, almost indestructible creature that some scientists dub “moss piglets.”  They have been the only organisms that have survived all five “extinction eras” that have decimated up to 90% of all life on earth over the last 500 million years.  Who cares, you ask?  What does the stubborn life of a microscopic organism, the size of a pinpoint matter to us?

Well, like us, they lived through what the ancient earth might have called a pandemic on crack.  They survived volcanic eruptions and glacier-like frigidity.  They found a way to cling to life, when most other living being around them were dying.  And they have survived … for five-hundred million years.  How you ask?  By retreating into an almost death-like state called cryptobiosis.

I cannot completely escape the accusation of being a bit melodramatic in writing this devotion.  After all, you know me … you are used to my overly dramatic imagery in these devotions.  But does not the story of the “moss piglets” inspire you?  Just when you think you cannot stand to put on another mask … just when your hand sanitizer feels like it has removed your top two layers of skin … just when the isolation of life makes you think that life itself is coming to an end … yes, at just that moment of despair over a world that has been lost to you … I invite you to remember the tardigrades.  Their ability to overcome impossible odds invites us to recognize that the malaise of Covid-19 is modest by comparison.

So, when despair is tapping at your door … or frustration seems to be your walking partner … or isolation tries to convince you that you really do have no companions left in the universe … yes, in these moments of struggle, remember the moss piglets, and their remarkable resiliency.  And remember that the God that made them, is the same God that fashioned you and me.  If they can endure worldwide volcanic eruptions and lava flows, you and I can survive Banana republic being out of Khakis, and Giant being out of hand sanitizer.

Be people of hope, so that those around you might find faith and hope … and dare we say … joy … through your model and example of faith in difficult times.

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

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