Sometimes I defer to a more accomplished writer than myself. The following is not a curmudgeonly rant—Rev. Liza Neal, of the Village Congregational Church in Cummington, is too spiritually advanced for that (unlike me). I hope others find this message thoughtful and thought-provoking.
"I sit writing this with soft white sand beneath my feet. Over the baby blue purring waves a faint pink softens the horizon while the sun rises behind me. The moon hangs just past full still bright before me. The gulls are strangely silent. Pure white birds with long necks peck in the sand and the world of “civilization” is asleep. There are remnants though, plastic shovels and floaties lying next to sand castles. And then of course there are the tons and tons of oil, unimaginable amounts, pouring in this direction, our deadly offering to this idyllic scene.
Preparing for my trip to Siesta Key for a nephew’s wedding, I packed my suitcase. The fancy dress just bought, suntan lotion which has done me little good, and of course, my swim suit. I worried that I might not be able to swim when I arrived. Sitting here at dawn, I am overwhelmed by the calm self-absorption with which I go about my days. Sure I watch the news and am properly horrified, but I also go about my business, driving out to work and packing my swim suit. How is it that we can go calmly on destroying life around us?
My partner and I recently decided to become a one-car household. She bikes to work or takes the bus. I carpool with a friend who lives on the same street. We are managing much more easily than I thought we would. A friend said, “I’m so impressed with what you are doing!” But yesterday swimming out in the ocean, I picked up a sand dollar. Instead of being bone dry, it was brown like wet sand and its underside was slightly rough like the bristles of a miniature brush. It was the first living sand dollar that I have ever seen. And the oil is coming for it. How is imposing vague inconvenience and extra planning impressive?
I am not trying to punish myself here, or you for that matter as you read this. I am however trying to be honest with myself. I want to consider the life of others before I consider my own convenience. I want to consider the life of the earth, and recognize its connection to the life of everything around me, and my own life. When I hear the voice of God in the rise and fall of the waves, I want to respond not only with my heart but also with the way that I live my life. In the Bible, God worries and weeps over the destruction of the earth.
This is the Good Friday of the Gulf, and we have nailed the earth upon the cross. We stand now at the crucifixion, praying that the resurrection is more than just a myth. Jesus told his disciples that in their hands was the power to loose forgiveness and judgment, destruction and creation. We cannot hide in the upper room closing our ears to the march of disaster outside. We cannot stand in the garden weeping. We must change, not tomorrow but rather today. It is time to ask ourselves what we can to do, and to make hard choices. It is time not only to inconvenience ourselves, but to sacrifice what we have for something better, to work for the resurrection of the earth.
Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Liza M. Neal