Gentle – Look, See, Pray

Gorillas- the gentle giants. It is only recent study that has changed our understanding of the gorilla- our expectation was more “King Kong” than peaceful vegetarian. Of course, gorillas are formidably strong and highly protective of their group. It is unwise to provoke their wrath! The famous “chest beating” ritual is scary- but is intended as a warning to avoid a fight. But we can admire and assist them, and not intrude rudely.

Mostly, they are content in their mountains and forest homes, wishing to be left alone and undisturbed.

Gentleness is about controlling strength; nurturing and protecting is a valid use of their power. Scientists have remarked on the tenderness of gorilla parenting, and the ways in which they show affection to their group members. We must not infer human attitudes as motivation- gorillas are dangerous if cornered or angered- but living in their “ideal” home they are surprisingly non-violent. Food, sleep, and family are their priorities. Not a bad way to live!

This gorilla is part of breeding pair in a conservation programme. I visited just after fresh feed had been supplied, and he sat quietly and gnawed in contentment. Mum and infant (surprisingly cute!) were inside as Pop’s picnic was consumed.

Two thoughts: first, isn’t it amazing to see the splendid creatures of the world? And reflect on OUR responsibility to “steward” this world for the benefit of all life. Conservation and ecology matter: the rate of species extinction is as alarming as the climate changes that contributes to the problems.

Second thought: how gentle am I? Is my strength under control? If directed to the benefit of others, and to the protection of the vulnerable, we can make a real difference. We become part of the solution, instead of the problem.

Gentleness is a quality of which God approves, as shown in the teaching of Jesus:

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5 v5

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