Easter Sunday Reflection
by Colleen Earp
“… 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 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.’
26 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.’ 27 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.’ 28 Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 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.’” … (John 20:19-31 NRSV)
It can be so hard to believe that climate change is really a serious issue. I’ve experienced snow pants weather and t-shirt weather within the same week so far this winter, but I have snow pants and t-shirts, and blankets and fans, and hot tea and cold, clean water. I carry enough privilege that I don’t have to feel the worst effects of climate change. It is difficult news, and I am privileged enough to ignore it if I want to.
Thomas heard from the other disciples who had seen Jesus. Even though they had seen and experienced Jesus, Thomas had not, and refused to believe it until he saw the wounds on Jesus’ body.
I think this is sometimes true for those of us not living and working in places directly affected by our collective sins against the planet—I can’t see the cracks in the dry soil! I didn’t see the river swell to historic heights, full of mud washed away from the land! I haven’t seen these giant garbage patches in the middle of our oceans!
Jesus forgives us, not only for our ignorance and denial, but for our complicity in the problem.
It would be easy to become disheartened and lose perseverance in my environmental work, but I find great hope in the community I do this work with. Like Thomas, I once didn’t really understand the gravity of the situation. But forgiven, and with his community, he came to learn, and go out and work for God’s glory. I am so grateful for my colleagues in ministry: in camping and conference work, in peacemaking, in education, in advocacy, in so many other places. While I am hardly living on the forefront and seeing the absolute worst of our environmental destruction, I have “my people” who encourage me and hold me accountable to use my knowledge and privilege to stand up and work for those who are suffering the most.
Prayer: Peace be with you. Find your people, have faith, believe, and get to work!
Colleen Earp serves as Director of Environmental Ministries at Camp Hanover in the Presbytery of the James. After a BA and MS in Geography, she is pursuing an MDiv at Union Presbyterian Seminary. She is passionate about environmental education and conservation, and loves to explore, whether it’s around the corner or around the world!