BP vs. Original Blessing
Every pelican we see in the Gulf coated with oil is an Original Blessing.
Every turtle we see drenched in gook is an Original Blessing.
All the shrimp beds and oyster hatcheries being poisoned by BP tar is an Original Blessing.
The sea itself, home to so many marvelous creatures large and small, is an Original Blessing.
“Blessing” is the theological word for “goodness.” The sea and its creatures are very good, full of blessing, and they bless us with livelihoods, with food for our table, with delight for our children and the child in each of us as they conspicuously display their beauty and their skills of flying, swimming, diving, parenting, surviving. We are surrounded by blessing and by goodness. The fishermen know about the gratuitous blessing, i.e. grace, that healthy fisheries extend to them, assuring them their livelihood.
A tragedy like the BP oil spill is so radical an awakening about what we take for granted: The Original Blessing that nature so often extends to us. Nature is a bountiful bestower of grace and we are capable of taking grace for granted.
No one can deny that it is human greed and human denial that has turned this blessing and this sea of grace into a scene of ugly destruction and wanton misery.
A theology of Original Blessing ceases the taking for granted of health and nature’s wealth and bountiful gifts to us. Such a moment as this, tragic as it is, is a wake-up call to us all:
–About our life styles and our addiction to poisonous energy sources.
–About the need for clean energy, a need that can no longer be put off and delayed.
–About a government corrupted by corporate powers that have their way in making laws, deregulating overseers, and ignoring the health and wealth of nature in favor of the idolatrous version of wealth as their bottom line and their shareholders profits.
–About the takeover of governments by corporations.
All this has to change if Original Blessing is to shine. Original Blessing is the doxa, the divine “glory” and numinosity and sheen that glistens in every creature. It deserves to be preserved. It is what we mean by the word “sacred.” It is precious and great and not to be destroyed in our pursuit of false gods of power, wealth, cheap grace. Indeed, it is our responsibility to see that it shines seven generations from now in all its beauty and healthy and earth-based wealth.
When Jesus said that what we do “to the least of my brethren you do to me” he was speaking profound wisdom that echoes in the hearts of all who witness this current tragedy. Every creature we see coated with oil and gook and close to death, and those thousands we do not see because they are under the poisoned sea, is another Christ being crucified at the hands of the current empire of cold-hearted multi-national corporations that prefer profits to people including the finned people and the winged people as well as the two-legged ones out of work and out of luck. The sacredness of the earth and her creatures ought not be compromised. Original Blessing says it all.