Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Earth is Bleeding

By Rev. Frank Edmands, Guest Blogger

It has been more than sixty days since the initial explosion and the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon and crude oil and gas still gush from the broken drill pipe almost one mile beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. The Earth is bleeding. The ocean is being polluted, marine life is dying and the human species seems inept in managing the emergency. The vital signs of the once productive and gorgeous gulf habitat, one of the largest estuaries in the world and a vacation and recreational paradise, are fading. The Earth is bleeding; and humanity has an unsolved crisis on hand.

Recently, I was transfixed by a disturbing photograph of an oil soaked pelican squatting on the gulf’s Louisiana shoreline. There the bird squats with heavy oil burdened out-stretched wings, feathers and plumage matted entrapped in black petroleum sludge. The image is disturbing. The distressed pelican seems to be gasping, crying, groaning, pleading or praying. The pelican is crying for all creation.

The image of the oil soaked pelican stands in stark contrast to the images of the pristine pelicans that are found in churches, embroidered on kneeling cushions and etched in stained glass windows. For the Church, the pelican is an important symbol that reminds the faithful of self-sacrifice and the passion of Jesus. A legend tells us that a pelican who could not feed her dying young, wounded herself (pecking her breast until it bled) giving her young new life with her own blood. The image reflects self-sacrifice, an action analogous to the self-sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

On the other hand, the image of the desperate oil soaked creature on the beach is a graphic reflection of the result of humanity’s sin, our selfishness far removed from any sense of self-sacrifice. The oil covered marine ecosystem is the result of our collective sins: our nation's addiction to oil, unbridled growth, compulsive consumerism, corporate greed and public ignorance concerning our impacts against the natural world.

Help stop the bleeding. End our extravagant need for fossil fuel. Change. Live a sustainable life-style that benefits all generations. Brake old habits; the desire for more and bigger things will need to be transformed into the love of less and more efficient ways of living. Become an agent of change in your neighborhood. The pelican cries and creation groans awaiting freedom from our self-centeredness.

The Rev. Frank Edmands, once an Environmental Scientist and now an Episcopal Priest, is also an Earth Ministry member, a Board member of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, a GreenFaith Fellow and contact person for Province V Episcopal Ecological Network. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a birder, I can appreciate any reference to any bird that the church might offer its members. The image that accompanies the blog posting, however, is clearly not a pelican (although it was a good choice to mirror the sad image of the oil-soaked pelican that started this series, which probably died from the exposure). The bird depicted in the blog image is much more likely a swan or a goose. The difference is in the beak of these birds, and I'm praying you are already familiar with it. Thanks for honoring the angels that take wing in our skies! --A--