Most Christians can agree on basic teachings such as “love your neighbor” and “Jesus is Lord,” even though we might disagree about what those things mean. But there’s one teaching that was central to the belief system of the earliest disciples of Jesus that is very controversial today — so controversial that some Christians embrace it with relish while others avoid talking about it at all. That teaching is the prophecy of the coming apocalypse — the end of the age, perhaps even the end of the world.
In the past few hundred years, technology has profoundly changed the world. From heavy industry to nuclear weapons and the rise of artificial intelligence, what are the spiritual implications of these developments? Christians have long expected the end of the world. In this week’s service we ask: Will modern technology bring heaven on earth or the apocalypse? We also tell the story of Dorothy Day, a Catholic activist for peace and social justice, who opposed the dehumanizing extremes of capitalism and the threat of nuclear war.
This Thursday, April 22, is Earth Day, a global holiday for celebrating the Earth and the importance of environmental protection. Earth Day was first proposed in 1969 by peace activist John McConnell, who was the son of a Pentecostal preacher. Since then, it has grown to be observed each year by more than one billion people in nearly 200 countries.
In the Gospel of Thomas, an ancient collection of saying of Jesus that many people believe should have been included in the Bible, Jesus describes the mystical presence of God in nature: “Split wood, I am there. Lift up a rock, you will find me there.” [Thomas 77b]
The coming of spring brings joyful reminders of new life, but science tells us our modern lifestyle is risking the future of our planet. As Christians, how should we see the natural world and our place in it? This Thursday we celebrate Earth Day — a time to reflect on the beauty of nature and the importance of protecting the environment. In this week’s service we also tell the story of John Muir, who felt called to explore the wilderness and became an influential conservationist.