VOICE OF THE HARVEST MAGAZINE

ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY IN A CHRIST CENTERED CONVERSATION

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JUNE

2019

DESTINATION ETHIOPIA

lOOKING BACK: iN THE BEGINNING gOD

AN EDITORIAL TEAM COLLABORATION

In the beginning God.

 

It was Christmas Eve in 1968, when those words were uttered some two hundred and thirty thousand miles away. As Apollo 8 orbited the moon, the voice of astronaut William Anders was heard.

A sharp clipped tone broke over the radio that night; speaking of the lunar surface and the deepness of space.

“I hope that all of you back on earth can see what we mean when we say it’s a rather foreboding horizon, a rather stark, and un-appetizing looking place.”

From their vantage point, the men of the Apollo 8 could also see the splendor of earth off in the distance. A blue marbled planet, floating in space. A place, which itself, in that year was looking like an un-appetizing place.

In 1968, the world’s landscape had been turned on its head.

 

The Prague Spring which brought the briefest of freedom to a beleaguered people in Czechoslovakia led to its invasion by 600,000 Warsaw Pact Troops, as a result, an authoritarian Communist regime would claim its victory.

In North Korea, some 16 miles of the coast, the North Koreans took advantage of a lightly armored Navy intelligence vessel, the USS Pueblo, 83 crew members became POW’s.

Not long after, the Tet Offensive took place. This bloody coordinated attack would serve to further erode American support for the Vietnam war. This would create a political climate that would embolden the rebellious spirit of the 1960’s.

President Johnson would lose support and Senator Robert F. Kennedy announced he would enter the presidential race. Within a short period of time President Johnson announced he would not run for office nor accept a nomination, if it were the case.

The Bad News Keeps Coming

The tumultuous year continued with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Riots broke out across the United States and an international manhunt went underway for his murderer, James Earl Ray.

That same month at the University of Colombia students gathered in protest to the Vietnam war. For nearly a week they occupied buildings and made their stand.

Though it would end with the NYC Police Department beating and arresting hundreds of protestors, breaking up the demonstration.

These protests were not happening only in American Universities, but throughout the globe. Demonstrations of a large scale and disruption had become the preferred way of communicating displeasure with authority at large.

In June of the same year the ever-popular Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Driving the United Stated into greater turmoil still.

In Chicago, after Kennedy’s assassination and during the Democratic Convention there, anti-war protestors and other demonstrators seemed to take over the Chicago landscape.

This demonstration too would end violently. The cameras of course rolled on to capture the mayhem, and somehow the Political parties of the United States, especially the Democratic party, would have to limp forward in attempts to find relief.

Will The Grief End?

As the year dragged on to its final months, even the Olympics became a stage for protestors as Tommie Smith and John Carlos would raise their fists, enveloped in black gloves, a salute to the Black Power movement. This would lead to their being expelled from the team. Increasing the divide further.

A few short weeks later, a triumphant Nixon would show off the presidential seal his daughter had made for him. Perhaps a sign that he was destined to lead the country and as he would say “bring the American people together.”

His departure was not as hopeful. A somber atmosphere was evident as President Nixon brought his arm across his face and demonstrably waived farewell, followed by his v-shaped arms as he formed peace signs with each hand. The first and only U.S President to resign from office.

Saving 1968

The future in some ways looked bleak. 1968 was coming to an end. Yet one more event would occur that may have just saved 1968.

In a time where insecurities were high and violence rampant. Where leaders had been gunned down in the most cowardly of ways the world looked up, into the heavens.

They wondered where exactly was the lunar module that stared back at them from the vastness of space. And while their eyes could not see precisely, their ears heard clearly.

The moment itself was brief. The impact of it however reverberated down unto the earth.

It was a live feed. Finally, the crew of Apollo 8 was able to establish a good connection with earth. In their separation from this place God has gifted us with, they knew that the moon, and the mysteries and vastness of space were no place to admire as appetizing.

Their words were directed at earth, to its people, all men. Not just Americans. As the sun was rising above the moon, so did their voices rise with absolute certainty as they declared the Word of God,

“In the beginning God…”

The three men, William Anders, James Lovell and Frank Borman read from Genesis chapter one, ending on verse 10. Their reading confirmed from the distances of space that God had done for man, what man could not have done for himself.

From the unforgiving landscape of space, survivable only in a metal tube for brief tenures at a time. These men saw with their eyes the emergence of planet earth which we call home.

Yet, they knew, it was a home given to us with the specifications needed to survive, and even thrive.

They read from that place in Genesis that states succinctly,

“…and God saw that it was good.”

As they concluded their reading of scriptures, they signed off. It was Frank Borman, who so poetically ended the historic broadcast from space,

“And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless you all, all of you on the good Earth.”

And it is good.

 

Dear family, in the beginning God. This very phrase should change your countenance. As you meander through your work day, know that in the beginning God.

As you wrestle with strife in your home, know that in the beginning God. When you are in financial straits, know that in the beginning God.

We have taught you for weeks now, that it is the miraculous work of God in the creation, that has provided us with all that we need to live the abundant life he has set forth before us.

As we notice those things in our lives that we feel are missing the most, we should notice more over that in the beginning God has already done all the work and that His work was and remains good.

Seeing God

Perhaps you have never seen the earth from the vantage point of space. But we can see God from right where we stand. His goodness surrounds us in the air we breathe and the provision that abounds within mere reach of our hands.

In the 60’s we launched into space thinking some wondrous life perhaps awaited us, but no such life was out there. It was upon looking back at the earth that we realized, it is here that we live life.

And as believers it is here where we must understand his provision is to live the life, he has planned for us.

Frank Borman, one of the Apollo 8 astronauts would be indelibly marked by a telegram brought to his attention after he and his men landed from the perilous journey into space. Out of millions of telegrams, the one he remembered most,

“Congratulations to the crew of Apollo 8. You saved 1968.”

Hope Renewed

In a year that was marked by death and disappointment. It was the voyage of a few men beyond the known world that elicited in men that hope could be renewed.

As we believers we know that it is not the exploits of men that save a year, let alone a lifetime. We know that saving power is in Christ alone.

Yet, it is in the exploits of men that we do see the provision of God; allowing us to reach heights unimaginable in order to give Him the glory.

God’s provision is set for you. When He made this blue marbled planet, in it he placed all you would need for success. How will you respond?

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