Gather Up the Duct Tape

Then he said to Thomas,  “Put your finger here and see my hands; and put out your hand and put it in my side” . . . Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” – John 20:19-31

The Christian church has many symbols for Resurrection—lilies, eggs, butterflies. I’d like to add some more—a sock, plastic tubing, and duct tape.

In April, 1970, Apollo 13 took off for the moon on what should have been a routine trip. A day later, a huge explosion blew off half the space ship. The astronauts’ only hope was to crawl into the tiny lunar module and try to steer it back to earth.

But they, and Houston, had a problem. Oxygen. The blast had damaged the cabin’s air filter. Without it, the men would quickly die from their own carbon dioxide. Down on earth, the NASA scientists were equally panicked. Then one scientist gathered up everything they knew was in the space ship. He dumped it onto a table and said to his colleagues, “Here you go, boys. Make your filter.”

So the scientists took a hose from a space suit, bits of plastic and wire–and a sock—and fashioned a make-shift air filter, all held together with duct tape. It saved the astronauts’ lives.

A sock, a hose, wire, and duct tape. What a great image of the God who, in a UCC Easter prayer, “gathers up the fragments of our lives and creates new possibilities.” Today’s story of Thomas has no lilies or butterflies. Just fears, doubts, and wounds. But like the NASA scientists with their socks, hoses, and duct tape, the Risen Christ gathered all those fragments of Thomas’ life and created new life. And Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God!”


Come with your Resurrection power, O God. Gather up our fragments, doubts and wounds, and create your new possibilities in our lives and in our world. Amen.

ddtalithaarnold2013.jpgAbout the Author
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Part 1 and Mark Part 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.