One morning recently I casually passed by the television as Nancy my wife was cooking breakfast. She had the Today Show on and Ann Curry was beginning an interview with CEO and Chief Operations Officer of British Petroleum. She was asking him if BP was willing to offer an apology to the American people for the devastating damage of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis which is now being considered the worst man caused pollution disaster in the history of the world (spewing more oil than the Valdez oil spill of twenty years ago every four days.) BP’s original claim that the leak was spilling 5000 barrels (200,000 gallons) of crude oil is now estimated by some scientists as being possibly ten times greater – nobody seems to know for sure.

As I passed by the television I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the intensity of the interview but also the devastating pictures that accompanied it. As this BP spokesman squirmed to avoid direct answers to Ann Curry’s questions across the screen were images from a mile under the sea showing the ruptured pipe gushing a massive stream of black oil upward and aerial pictures of the growing oil slick slowly spreading across the ocean’s surface.

Seeing those images brought to mind a picture of a severed human artery pumping dark blood outward forming a slow spreading pool on the pavement near a dying body. That picture coupled with the familiar new footage of dead and dying dolphins, sea turtles and birds coated in oil washing up on the southern U.S. shores gave me the morbid thought that I was observing a picture of the earth dying from a mortal wound. I thought of the scripture in Romans 8 where it says, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:19-22)

As a pastor I have always exhorted my people to minister to what has been referred to as “a lost and dying world”. Somehow I had never equated it with the death of the physical earth. The reality that the earth could actually die right before my eyes really shook me. I know as well as any Christian that the Bible prophesied that horrible things would happen in the time period that is referred to as “the last days” or the “day of the Lord”. In my optimism I had always believed that it would be a time in the way distant future but I now realize it could happen in my lifetime.