By Rev. Mitch Hescox and Alexei Laushkin
The Deep Water Horizon oil spill represents one of the largest environmental disasters in American history. We are thrilled and thank the Lord for what seems to be some positive recent developments for the oil spill. We will need to wait over the weekend to see what this ultimately means for the full containment of the spill. One thing remains clear, the disaster show cases both our God given human ingenuity and limitations. We have shut down an area of the coast line roughly the size of Kansas, over 81,000 sq mi, to contain one of the largest man made oil spills on record. We cannot forget that this crisis doesn’t end with a plugged well, but will affect the Gulf’s inhabitants for years if not decades. As in all crises the Gulf Oil Spill will fade from public view, but not from the lives of those impacted.
Given the size of the spill scientists and health experts have no immediate way to calculate the long term impacts or the years of havoc on the people, animals, water, and land, but they will be severe and enduring. One thing is certain the lives of those who depend on the Gulf will be changed. Shrimping and oyster waters will be reduced, commercial fishing boats will devalue, which will force some into bankruptcy; and for many a way of life will be lost, in some cases forever.
The spill in the Gulf is a vivid reminder that God has given humanity responsibility for caring over His creation, including the seas and sea life, the wetlands and the waterfowl. We were created in the image of God to be his image bearers; representatives of His reign to all that he made. We were made in God's image to reflect how He would care for His creation. That reflection became dimmed as sin entered the world and all creation suffers as a result.
Our hopes for humanity and the restoration of all creation does not exist in a new well head, but the freedom and restoration offered in Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ died and rose that all God’s children and all creation might attain true freedom in Him. A creation regained not by our will but by the will of the Father in the fullness of time.
In the present we must consider what being the people of God means in the context of our stewardship of the world that God made. In short we must care for creation. Rather than simply being a stain on our stewardship, we must let the Gulf spill be the impetus that propels us to better works; our Holy Scripture tells that we were redeemed for such a purpose. If the terrible impacts of the oily water on communities and wildlife have made one thing clear, it is that we must do a much better job of being God's stewards, of protecting His creation and the livelihoods of those who depend upon it while we all benefit from its resources.
We were created to love God and others as summarized by Jesus in the Great Commandment. Creation care is done to honor the Lord our God and to care for our neighbor. Those environmental impacts that have an overt human impact merit the church’s attention. Many of the problems in the world today have some connection to the brokenness that humanity lives in apart from God. Separation from God, self, neighbor, and creation, only with God is full restoration possible.
That is why on Sunday July 18, 2010 the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) are calling for a National Day of Prayer for the people of the Gulf, for God's creation in the gulf, and for the Lord's intervention and deliverance. We believe that the transformative power of prayer extends beyond our human limitations.
We invite you and your church or house of worship to join us in this show of faith and solidarity with our neighbors in the Gulf.
Whether your church chooses to participate by saying a single prayer or centering an entire service on this challenge to our stewardship of creation to learn more about the National Day of Prayer visit http://creationcare.org.