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The Rev. Dr. Kimberleigh Buchanan The Rev. Dr. Kimberleigh Buchanan

The Rev. Dr. Kimberleigh Buchanan is senior pastor of First Congregational Church (UCC) in Asheville, NC.

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First Congregational United Church of Christ, Asheville, NC

Spewing Sin

May 28, 2010


When the gasket blew, when the rig exploded, when news reports of missing workers started coming in, we prayed-for the lost to be found, for families to be reunited.  When the search was called off, we grieved-- for those lost, for their families, for survivors and their families, forever changed by this tragic accident.

We still grieve the loss of human life, but now, as we watch the ugly red ooze seep toward shore, wetlands, perhaps the Gulf Stream; as images of oil-coated pelicans struggling to take flight flash on TV (and linger in our minds), as beachside vacations are cancelled and fishermen's livelihoods decimated, we are beginning-just beginning--to understand that those lives lost in April were only the tip of the iceberg.

We don't like to talk about sin these days.  It's not popular to do so.  But what else can we call what's happening in the Gulf?  If sin refers to that which diminishes creation, how can this oil spill be anything but sin?

And it's not just the sin of one or two people.  It's not just the sin of big oil and corporate executives.  We all bear some responsibility for what's spewing from the bottom of the Gulf....from the person who chose to use a less expensive gasket to save a few dollars, to the legislators who have eschewed life-saving regulation, to voters who have stood by while legislators eschewed regulation, to all of us who refuse to change our lives to be less dependent on limited resources like fossil fuels.  We all bear culpability in this event.  Every dead bird, every crude-slick beach, every sickening image on the evening news-every ugly consequence of this catastrophe bears a tiny fingerprint from each of us.

Have mercy on us, God.

Have mercy on us, Christ.

Have mercy on us, God.

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