Today is the one year anniversary of the Oil Spill in the Gulf.
MSNBC has images on their photo blog of Louisiana Island as the spill was coming in and again this month after the spill had turned the landscape to gray. The first picture has what looks like eggs in the grass with a riot of flying and landing birds with blue water in the background. The second image is of a landscape that looks dead with just a dozen or so birds circling in the distant sky. The grass is no longer green and upright but gray and flat. The water looks gray and lifeless. An abandoned life preserver is the main source of color in the photo.
One of my colleagues from seminary has posted interesting questions about the ethics and responsibility of individuals and companies related to cleaning up the area. You can read her thoughts at: Rev. Nancy on the Oil Spill.
As Christians, we have duties and responsibilities to God and to our neighbors, as well as to this earth that God has given us to care for. In the psalms, the earth worships God along side the people. I can see and hear the joy of the seagulls in the first photo. I wonder if it is even possible to restore the land to its former beauty. What will it take?
Nancy references Micah 6:8 – “What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.”
Even though we are having a hard time being just with humans, perhaps it is time to extend our understanding to the earth and to all the animals upon it. Maybe if we try justice on a larger landscape, it will allow us to live into a better future, one that has life and a future for all the earth, not just a few wealthy humans.
I am reminded of a recent Lectionary text as I see this sad and damaged land. God asks Ezekiel:
“Mortal, can these bones live?” Ezekiel answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” [Ezekiel 37:3]
God may be asking us the same about the many places on this earth this day. Can these wetlands be restored to the life and beauty they had before? If we are humble, perhaps we will answer, “O Lord GOD, you know.”
Our hope is in God and in the Word that reminds us of who we are in relationship to God and the cosmos.
Our hope is in God. We know that it is our actions that cause the problems. The actions that led to the spill sprang from our hunger and thirst for oil that drives companies further to sea to find it in ever more hazardous places. Some say we are addicted to oil. We can change that addiction – but, not easily, not overnight. We need God’s help.
Our hope is in God. We need a change of heart, a new vision for life, and courage to follow that vision. As the remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus approaches, I am reminded of the many ways that death and sin invade our lives. And, I think of yet another verse:
“See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.” [Jeremiah 21:8]
My hope is that we are able to see the way of life that God is preparing before us. A way of life, not just for the people, but for the plants and animals, for the planet itself.
May God open our eyes to the many paths before us, so that we can see the many possibilities. There are ways of death and ways of life.
May we, with God’s help, choose LIFE for us and for all.