Archdeacon Michael: My amazing jungle discovery

Frog photographed by Archdeacon Michael in the Amazon jungle
Frog photographed by Archdeacon Michael in the Amazon jungle
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A picture tells a thousand words. I took nearly 1,000 photos over the past couple of weeks while in the Amazon region of Peru, which means I am busy editing down from a million words.

Probably another week I will write about the work we did in the barrios of Iquitos. (The poor ‘shanty towns’ on the edge of the city.) However, like my muscles from digging a trench for a sewer pipe or moving wheelbarrows of building materials and my heart from the afternoons in an orphanage, it is still a little too sore to process.
This week it is my favourite photograph from our visit to the heart of the jungle. Away from all trappings of contemporary life, surrounded by caymans, piranhas and tarantulas, it was an amazing experience.
One night before going out for a canoe trip, which involved an encounter with an Anaconda bumping the base of the boat, I took ‘the’ photo in my collection. Sadly only on my phone as it was a snatched moment, but none the less the one.
By the side of the walkway there was a beautiful emerald green frog. I was failing to focus a camera on it in the dark and our guide then picked it up and placed it on his hand. His hand was a working hand with encrusted dirt. Another friend shone a flashlight on it and I snapped with my mobile phone. The image of the beautiful fragile frog in the palm on a dimly lit working hand speaks so loudly to me of the Amazon.
‘He’s got the whole world in his hand’ was a song from the 60s. Here I could see creation nestling in the hand of God. Yet I also could see humanity’s hand being entrusted by God with the preciousness of creation. These when surrounded by a cathedral of tropical trees and yet also conscious of illegal logging and plundering of the Amazon, a desecration of this divine space spoke clearly both of divine gift and human responsibility.
In the grandeur and scale of the Amazon rainforest it is this delicate image that speaks loudest to me of the challenge to us all to take seriously God’s commission to us to be good stewards of his creation. To be aware that we all hold a delicate, intricate and amazing gift in our hands.