“Every good thing we need, our earth provides.” Psalm 104
Psalm 104 is a hymn to the Creation that gives us important insight into how connected the creation is to the Creator, our God. While some in the ancient world believed the earth to be a corrupt and discardable thing, that was not the Hebrews’ perspective. God’s chosen people understood God as the active agent of every good material in life. To God, our earth and its plants and creatures are Good.
(Link to read Psalm 104 on Biblegateway.)
Our God created this planet as a treasury. All that we need for a life of wellbeing is here, fresh springs of water, produce, heavens, oceans, and winds, fire and flame. The bible tells us that ours is a “beautiful planet” to be honored, prized, and praised as a reflection of the sustaining love of our Creator. To God be such glory!
Over the last year I have had the opportunity to be some small help in our local area to those who are working to preserve our “beautiful planet” and the wellbeing of life this planet as God’s creation provides. I have spoken up in support of those living on Livingston Mountain who are working to shut down mining there and attended Clark County Council Hearings in support of their efforts. I also spoke out at our United Methodist Annual Conference regarding the need to stop investing in the fossil fuels that are choking our creation.
More recently I have been asked to speak and testify on behalf of our beautiful planet and to the honor and praise of God in opposition to the influx of oil trains into the Pacific Northwest. I spoke at the Vancouver City hearings against the Tesoro transport and storage project and I was present at the Portland City Council meeting where the Mayor and City Councilors made history and became the first city to reject the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and instead actively invest in clean energy alternatives.
The reality of transporting oil by rail: 15 million+ gallons of explosive bakken oil will pass into Vancouver with trains moving through residential & downtown areas of Camas & Washougal.
Safe transport at these numbers is not attainable. The Cities of Camas & Washougal and the Port of Camas Washougal have passed resolutions citing real safety concerns for the risks these trains pose to the wellbeing of our towns, homes and families.
There are a lot of politics involved, to be sure. But it is my faith and that leads me in what I do here. Our scriptures are clear and Psalm 104 could not be clearer that we as Children of God are to see the Glory of God in our creation. How do we know who or what God is? Part of the answer to that question is to look to our earth and heavens. God is “wrapped in glory and dressed in the greatness” of Creation. To defile the earth is to defile the work of God.
On January 5th at the Clark County Fairgrounds community organizers and people of faith will come forward to speak against the proposed oil by rail and transport station in Clark County and beyond. Our beautiful Pacific Northwest was created to be Glorified in the name of God, and I will be calling for that at the rally. I invite you to come and lend your voice with mine. The industrial age is done, new energy is already emerging. Our voices will help bring needed change and new wellbeing for all.
God made us as a Spirit filled people. We are creative, innovative, adaptable, and capable of great good. As Methodists we recognize our special role as people called into the world in order that our work might help bring about the Kingdom of God. There are no coal trains and no oil exports in that Kingdom. What the “clouds drink up” should not be poisoned.
Come and lend your voice. More information about the January 5th hearings can be found on our Creation Care page at camasumc.org. See also ColumbiaRiverkeeper.org for dates, times, locations and more.