As a former resident of Louisiana, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the oil disaster. The scope is difficult to contemplate. In my travels around the Internet, I ran across this website, where you can put in your hometown or any other location and see just how large the oil slick is in our own local terms. (h-tip: one of the coolest sites around, “strangemaps”).
It’s a little disconcerting to see my own town in the darkest bull’s eye of the cloud and think, “What if this were happening where I live?”
Something I like about the site is the way that helps us to think about this event as one of shared humanity: one way to love one’s neighbor as oneself is to put ourselves in that person’s shoes through love (Lev. 19:18 / Matt. 19:19, etc.). What if I were hungry? What if I had need? What if I were situated in the midst of a disaster? What if it were my family that no longer could fish those waters or work those rigs or sell sandwiches at our restaurant?
Material empathy in these kinds of circumstances reminds us of just how interlinked we really are as fellow persons. Indeed, this kind of empathy should lead us to be reminded of our shared spiritual state as well. The fallen nature of our world and our souls longs for solutions, even as they long for a Savior.