The Common Good

The Oil Has Stopped, But How Can I Keep From Praying?

It is with cautious optimism that I write these words: Apparently, oil has stopped flowing into the Gulf (at least from the spot where we had been watching oil gush into the waters of the Gulf.) I hope this will hold. I pray this will hold. And I pray for the lives of the people, the wildlife, and for the water that has been turned to poison. I pray a lot these days. I hope you are praying too.

Last week, Jim Wallis joined a group of interfaith leaders on a trip to the Gulf. They were there to witness what has happened--and to pray. To ask that God would--in God's divine mercy--help us to make this stop. And while the flow of oil may have stopped, this crisis is not over and won't be over for a very long time.

One resident, a long time crabber quoted in the New York Times, said that the drill-hole cap was "like putting a Band-Aid on a dead man." It will take years, even decades, for this to be fixed, if it ever can be.

So we need to pray. We need to ask God to revive the fish and the wildlife, we need to ask God to send gifted scientists who will find new ways to address this disaster. And we need to pray that God will help bring the kind of support that the residents in the Gulf need in order to make it through.

This Sunday, the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) is sponsoring a National Day of Prayer for the Gulf, and have invited us to join with them in prayer. And so I am extending that invitation to you.

God's people need to pray and be vigilant--now more than ever. And we need to do what we can to commit ourselves to preserving our world for the next generation. Dirty, cheap energy is expensive. Ask the crabber in the Gulf who may never crab again. Ask the families living along the shoreline who wake up to the smell of oil fumes every morning. Ask the soldier who just got sent home with injuries sustained in Iraq, how much our energy consumption cost him.

And so we must pray, and live as if those prayers mean something.

portrait-jennifer-kottlerRev. Jennifer Kottler is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Sojourners. A long-time advocate for justice, Jennifer has served in advocacy ministry for more than seven years through her work at Protestants for the Common Good (Chicago, IL), the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign, and the Chicago Jobs Council.

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