The sea urchin drifted into my quiet time recently with great persistence. So, I dug up a little information on them to see what they had to share. As one of the oldest animals on Earth, also known as the porcupine of the sea, the red sea urchin can live to be 100 or as much as 200 + years old (OR State Univ, 2019). Urchins range in an array of colors from green, purple, red, brown and many more. Urchin means hedgehog and if you look up an image of one you will see the resemblance. Without a bone in their body and no obvious eyes, sea urchins use their entire body to respond to light; even their feet aid them in seeing (Cape Clasp). Their mouths have multiple jaws and a chewing structure known as Aristotle’s lantern. Their body has a protective cover made from a shell-like structure called a test (Klappenbach, 2021).
I find their God-given design fascinating, but what struck me the most was their response to light with their whole body as way to see. In the depths of the ocean, you may think it is complete darkness, but I found out recently by watching Welcome to Earth, hosted by Will Smith on the National Geographic channel, (I highly recommend all six episodes), that the ocean floor is gleaming with light and color, especially at night. This natural chemical process called bioluminescence illuminates the water like dazzling stars, in multiple colors, allowing living things to produce light in their bodies (Good Living, 2021). Again, I am in awe of God’s design.
Color and light are related in many ways. You could say we are God’s prism- His light shines into our lives and illuminates us and refracts back out into the lives of others, bringing with it an array of color to those around us. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12, ESV). He adds color and light to our lives. His light embodies grace and truth (Brand, 2015).
There are many references to light in the Bible, but I want to turn to colors, which also hold significant meanings. White can be symbolic of purity and joy, red can stand for sin or Christ’s blood, while black is usually associated with judgement or death. We also see purple as a prominent color used to dye garments, such as a robe worn by Christ and other priests in the tabernacle. Did you know that the name Colossae got its name from a Latin word meaning “purple wool” because the area produced and dyed wool?
There are many ways we can describe light and color as it pertains to Jesus Christ and our lives, but bringing it back to the sea urchin, I see this little creature as symbolic of our own lives with Christ at the center. When we put Him first, we naturally respond to His light and move towards Him, we don’t have to see Him with our eyes to know He is present and that He is protecting us. He gives us Spiritual armor, and when we put it on along with zeal as a cloak, we clothe ourselves with Jesus Christ Himself (Is. 59:17). When we trust God to lead us through the darkness of this world, even when we feel like our heads are under water, His light will see us through. We have a guaranteed inheritance, when we believe in Him, and He seals us (protected and preserved) with the promise of the Holy Spirit, until we gain possession of it (Eph. 1:13).
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Is. 60:1).
“The fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true” (Eph. 5:9).
Brand, C., ed., (2015). Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Nashville: B & H Publishing.
Cape Clasp. (2020, August 10). https://www.capeclasp.com/blogs/cape-clasp-blog/5-facts-about-sea-urchins
Good Living. (2021, May 12 )https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/goodliving/posts/2018/04/sea-sparkle#:~:text=The%20bioluminescent%20sea%20will%20glow,a%20light%2Dproducing%20marine%20creature.
Klappenbach, Laura. (2021, October 2). Round Echinoderms:. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/sea-urchins-and-sand-dollars-129946
Oregon State University. (2019, July 13). https://today.oregonstate.edu/archives/2003/nov/red-sea-urchins-discovered-be-one-earths-oldest-animals