Time To Believe


April 22, 2019

By Andrew Page.

Drew Page is the Digital Media Editor for the CT, MA, and RI Conferences, United Church of Christ.


Scripture: John 20: 24-29  (NRSV)

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’
 
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

 

Reflection: Time To Believe

Image of Earth from NASA Gallery

I really can’t blame Thomas for doubting Jesus’s return. Even after all that had happened, after all that Jesus had done, someone rising from a tomb is a hard story to believe.
 
Humanity struggles with information that contradicts our established perceptions of the world. Even when faced with scientific fact, people search hard for reasons to negate any concept that conflicts with their comfort zones.
 
Today is Earth Day. It is the 50th observations of Earth Day (Yes I know: we won’t celebrate the 50 Year Anniversary until the year 2020, but this IS the 50th observation of Earth Day). On the first observance in 1970, it was estimated that 20 millions people participated in celebrations and observances across the United States. A photo on the front page of the New York Times on April 23, 1970 shows thousands of people in streets of New York City gathering give the environment the attention it needed. It certainly looked like people believed that the environment was under attack and needed to be protected.
 

Earth Day in NYC: 1970 (top) and 2019 (bottom)

What is happening today? Not much. In NYC, where thousands gathered in 1970, there will be some car-free streets and organized “cleanup” activities. But the massive organized demonstrations, where thousands of people show up to voice their desire to preserve this creation, are largely absent. Don’t take this the wrong way. There are numerous projects and efforts taking place to educate people on better practices and ways they can help change the current course. But there is little visibly public outrage over the current trend in government to roll back environmental protections and to appoint people to key roles in environmental protection who have a history of working for those corporations that regularly fight environmental friendly policies.
 
Why? Do we not believe in the accelerating destruction of this planet? Is the evidence of drastic environmental change too abstract, too far in the future (it’s NOT!) or too easily explained by those who wish to preserve the status quo rather than sacrifice something for the good of all?
 
Are the holes in the Earth not enough to make us believe? What, then, do we need to see?

Prayer:

Our Creator, you entrusted us with this precious planet and we are betraying that trust. Like Thomas, we need help. We need to see how precious it really is, to see how our actions destroy what you created. Give us the sight we need to see the future clearly, and the passion we need to persuade those who would continue to break this fragile world.


New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at drewp@ctucc.org.

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For those suffering or grieving in Sri Lanka where nearly 300 people were killed and more than 500 injured in attacks on Easter Sunday
  • For the family and friends of Natalie Phillips, a member of Broadview Community Church in Hartford with a long history of involvement with the Hartford Association and the CT Conference. Natalie died on April 19.

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For the planet Earth in all its beauty.

Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:

New London
First Congregational Church in New London, UCC
 
New Milford
First Congregational, UCC
 
New Preston
New Preston Congregational Church, UCC
 
Newington
Church of Christ Congregational UCC
 
Newtown
Newtown Congregational UCC


This Week in History:
April 22, 1970, (49 years ago) The First Earth Day event was held to increase public awareness of environmental issues. Conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson, the naming of a Earth Day was intended to develop "nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy." In July of that year, the Environmental Protection Agency was established.
 

Starting With Scripture: April 22, 2019 , by Andrew Page.