731 Prayers for the BP Gulf oil spill—and life along the shore

WHERE THE OCEAN MEETS LOUISIANA WATERWAYS: Lafourche Parish west of New Orleans where an interfaith prayer service is planned July 30.

Prayer works!
That affirmation is shared by billions around the world. And, “prayer works” especially well in our age of global connection despite physical separation.
TODAY, we’re sharing resources for prayer, meditation and spiritual action in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Even though the gushing well seems to be capped, now is truly the time to keep praying for the humans, flora and fauna whose lives and livelihoods continue to be threatened by the massive BP oil spill. The focus that many religious leaders and nonprofit groups are urging is: Action. Let’s pray to discern ways our religious communities can help the people and sacred creatures all around the Gulf.

Eyes on the Gulf Fundraising Event at Peter Max Gallery, NY

Here’s a great example of the opportunities—and challenges—with global connections in these efforts. Yesterday, more than 3,000 Facebook “friends” were invited to an August 19 Peter Max fundraising event in New York City to help with disaster relief. Peter Max has been a leading supporter of environmental efforts for decades. The sponsors of this event are doing great work, but many of the Facebook responses say: “Sorry, I don’t live anywhere near New York.”
“Leena” explained on the Facebook event page that she lives in Finland. “Too far!” she wrote. But what many add is this: “Will be there in spirit.” One example is “Linda” from Dallas who writes, “I will be with you in spirit. Praying it’s a smashing success!!!!”

Prayers for the Gulf from Religious Leaders

PRAYER YOU CAN SHARE FROM NORTH CAROLINA: ON MAY 9, ReadTheSpirit was among the first to publish a prayer for the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We called this prayer, penned by the Rev. Ken Sehested (co-founder of Circle of Mercy, a Christian community in Ashville, North Carolina), a Liltany of Lament over a Despoiled Ocean. We continue to hear from readers who have used and shared this prayer with others. Please continue doing that!

EPISCOPAL PRESIDING BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: We’re not alone, of course. Many have shared their own spiritual reflections. Here’s a commentary by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, published in the Huffington Post.

DAY1 PETER WALLACE: Another very thoughtful piece that caught our eye is Peter Wallace’s Huffington Post commentary, “Is the Earth bleeding for our sins?”

Think the Time for Prayer in the Gulf Is Over?
Hardly! News from Louisiana …

Finally, we want to share this fascinating and inspiring example from southern Louisiana to illustrate how deeply—and how long—families living along the affected shoreline are going to need help: On July 30, there’s a major interfaith service planned for the thousands of families living in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes west of New Orleans. The prayerful event is organized by Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing (BISCO), an important grassroots network supported by major religious groups like the Catholic church’s Campaign for Human Development and nonprofits like Oxfam. It’s a local event in many ways, just like the Peter Max fundraiser in New York, but the occasion also is linked into national websites so people can share in the spirit of the day. One example is the United Methodist church’s national Board of Global Ministries, which recommends that Methodists support BISCO’s efforts.

Most importantly, we all—including readthespirit.com—want Americans to realize that there are thousands upon thousands of families who’ll be living with the aftermath of this spill for a very long time. (And that’s not to overlook the cost to sacred life in the natural world, as well.)

You can read more about these cooperative congregations in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes at the BISCO website. As you can appreciate, all BISCO efforts are focused on support and relief efforts this summer, so the website is rather bare bones. You’ll have to scroll down on BISCO’s Calendar page, for example, to find the late July and August events.

FINALLY, IF YOU CARE, Read and Comment in OurValues.Org

ALL THIS WEEK, writer Terry Gallagher takes us on a summertime journey to the “Real World,” which is the natural world around us. Check out that series! And please add a Comment there!

ENJOY OUR ENTIRE GREAT SUMMER READING AND VIEWING SERIES: (Our series so far: “Crown of Aleppo,” “Science Vs. Religion,” “Belief,” “Apparition,” “Burma VJ,” “Facets World Cup,” “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” “The Lonely Polygamist,” “Rise and Shine,” “Saints,” “Beaches of Agnes,” “Mystically Wired,” “Creative Aging,” “Twelve by Twelve,” “Eyewitness 4,” “Connecting Like Jesus,” “NRSV: XL Edition” and “Putting Away Childish Things.”)

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