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Reflection from ELCA Advocacy Office

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Living Earth July 2010 Reflection

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"Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." 
- Matthew 7:7-8.
In the weeks following the Gulf oil disaster, President Obama and leaders in Congress announced that they would soon take steps to ensure that nothing like the tragedy that has been unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico since April would ever happen again.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that committees would begin work to pull together a package of legislation that would help the people and communities of the Gulf to recover, reform the way oil and gas leases in the Gulf are approved and monitored, and work to move our nation's energy policy from one based on oil and gas and other fossil fuels to one that encourages and embraces new, cleaner technologies such as biofuels, solar power, and wind power. 
He also pledged that the Senate would take this opportunity to begin addressing a significant threat to our future by passing legislation to cap emissions of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases that are the root cause of climate change.
On July 27th, Senator Reid announced that he was unable to pull together sufficient support for a comprehensive climate and energy bill, and said that he would, instead, bring a bill to the Senate floor for a vote to address the Gulf oil spill, with limited provisions on energy. 
A round of blame began almost immediately - the White House blamed environmental groups for not doing enough to find Republican support for a comprehensive bill; Democrats blamed Republicans; Republicans blamed Democrats; interest groups blamed the White House.
But blame is beside the point.  The rhetoric of our political leaders is beside the point.
The anguish of the people of the Gulf is the point.  The need to build a new future that is based on energy sources that do not pollute God's beautiful earth is the point.  Our children and our grandchildren and their future are the point.
So how do we find hope when our leaders are not acting quickly enough and our neighbors and God's creation are suffering? 
I find hope in the fact that Congress is responding, at least in part, to the crisis in the Gulf with a bill it will consider in the next week. I find hope in the incredible response that people of faith have made to the oil disaster, in the willingness of people who have written to me in response to the reflections I've written since the spill to accept their own responsibility for this crisis, in the polling that shows that people are rejecting more drilling for oil off our coasts as a safe solution for our energy needs.  I find hope in the voices of leaders in Congress who are continuing to speak out about the need for cleaner energy sources and a comprehensive response to climate change, even if there are too few of them.
I find hope in the promise of Jesus in his sermon on the Mount - if we ask for help, God will answer. 
We must continue to find hope, and we must continue to ask for help from God and from those with the power to make change:
  • Send a message to your Senators, asking them to support legislation to address the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Sign a petition urging even more action to ensure that the disaster in the Gulf never happens again.
  • Consider holding an event in your congregation to pray for the people and creatures of the Gulf on Sunday, October 3rd.  Some resources to use in Sunday worship are available on our Website, and more resources will be coming in late August, so check back!
    Prayer for the Journey
    God of hope, we pray for relief and solutions for the people and creatures of the Gulf. We pray for wisdom and strength for our elected leaders as they address the needs of those who suffer. We pray for a future free of oil spills for our children, our grandchildren and all creation.  We pray in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, remembering his words of promise to all who ask. Amen.