The year was 1968. MLK, assassinated. Some actually celebrate, some cry. RFK too. Riots in major cities. Segregation on the ballot. Pain. War. It was a bad year for America. Some of you lived it. You told my generation about it.
Then Apollo 8. Then this picture. Earth. That big blue marble. All of us who have been and will be. Suddenly, we saw ourselves differently. There we were, with all our problems, violence, and pain—hanging together in the void of space. Alone.
Then, Apollo 8 breaks the script. NASA wanted a Christmas Eve broadcast. They got Scripture from the crew. They chose Genesis. The word crackles into the void of space, with millions of ears tuning in. These words rode those radio waves back to earth—“In the beginning, God…”
The year is 2020. This is our 1968. Like then, we need this picture of our planet, of ourselves . We need the distance of time and space to show us the unity that comes from our shared humanity. To show us our great need for help that comes from outside ourselves. We need empathy for the pain of others. We need to admit we might just be wrong about some things. We need to admit too that some things aren’t worth being right about. Only then can we stand for what God calls right, especially when doing so demands sacrifice.
Above it all, we need kindness that flows from recognizing the kinship of humanity. Jesus shows that sort of solidarity with us at our worst. At the cross, the greatest injustice becomes the righteousness of God. Now we live and recognize that every stranger has been made Christ to us.
Let’s listen for the word of Jesus again, crackling through the void of space. A Word that lifts our heads with hope and faith, when we’re just hanging on. I believe God wants to do that for us. He knows. He hears. He’s not silent to suffering. He stands in it with us. He’ll bring justice and righteousness. He’ll bring forgiveness and mercy. He’s just that good.