Crude Oil and Calvary
It’s been one year since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
Entering into what’s become known as “Earth Week” it begs the question: So, how are things one year later? Talking Big Picture, scientists rate conditions in the Gulf seemingly “similar to those before the BP spill.” And hearing that, most of us might be content, thinking All Is Well. Keep in mind that such a blanket statement is only scratching the surface. Read further and those same Associated Press reports contain what should be cautionary, if not extremely unsettling, news about the real condition of things in the Gulf.
Scientists cite many factors that show there continue to be long-term consequences of this manmade mess: rising death tolls on dolphin and whale populations—way above average or “normal” numbers—strangely stained crabs, dead zones on the sea floor, higher numbers of marine life carcasses washing ashore. Surely something unseen is still at work here. University of Georgia researcher Samantha Joye said “The oil isn’t gone; it’s just not where we can see it.” An interesting thought for me in entering Holy Week and as I approach the end of my “40 Days of Posts” project.
The things we do as humans have a lasting effect. Some of them greater than others. This most recent oil spill, along with the tremendous devastation of the Exxon Valdez in the spring of 1989, will likely be talked about and referenced for its negative environmental impact for a long time to come. Even the technology employed to clean up Valdez and Deepwater oil—scrubbers, barges, booms and skimmers—can’t put this ugly black genie back in the bottle. In the case of the Valdez, that oil still affects the beaches of Prince William Sound; it’s still there, under the surface, as it is in the Gulf as well.
Outside the bounds of modern times, we can find the same in looking back 2,000 years ago as Christ entered into Jerusalem heralded as a King, palm branches aloft in praise. And yet within days, our imperfect human nature—what we do as humans—would demand his death on a cross.
This is the week when the Church and Christians the world over bring that story to life again. We resurrect our shared transgression, we own our sin, we bring it front and center, we allow the stain on our souls to become visible, while most of the year we keep it under the surface.
As our societies become more globally connected, we only heighten our awareness to what’s going on under the surface in all parts of our world, much of it quite uncomfortable and tainted by our human nature.
I’m not at all sure about the effects we’ll leave upon this earth; in the wake of all things “human,” I often don’t feel encouraged.
In my own efforts to cope and find peace in admitting my own imperfection, this blog project has brought me closer to an understanding. That through the worst human failure ever to take place in this world—in our very worst moments of doing what we humans do—God promised us His grace. He would not allow us to suffer the lasting effects we deserve but everlasting life with Him.
I’ve never seen God “in person” as they say, and I’ll bet you haven’t either. Yet I grow more and more convinced that there is certainly something God-given going on under the surface of our lives on this earth.
For me, as I get ready to conclude this initial blog project, this means I need to take stock, take an accounting of my faith and my progress with regard to the reasons I’ve been doing this. I need to ask myself: How are things 4o days later?