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  • Writer's pictureRev. Joel L. Tolbert

Good News

How do you get through moments when there's lots of bad news?

Do you prefer the distraction method? ... the wacky blooper videos from 90's sitcoms... the puppies frolicking or kittens scrambling... toddlers of different races running to embrace one another... a young boy dropping his Pinata stick to hug the Spiderman he couldn't bring himself to whack.

Do you prefer the confrontation method? ... the angry response to the bigoted family member typed too fast and sent even faster (before the frontal lobe kicked in)... the one-more-march you faithfully attended even though you were exhausted...

Do you choose the duck and dodge method?... a tough topic comes across the screen and you change the channel... a toughie comes up in conversation with a friend and you change the subject...

Do you like the shut it out method?... stop opening social media, stop reading any print or web news, stop listening to or watching any news programs, mute or avoid those who cant stop with you, and read only fiction...

For me, I've experimented with each of these quick fix solutions. I do love me some distractions, like XBox games or Fantasy Premier League now that futbol is being played again to empty stadiums. I have been known to write a Facebook response that needed some hardcore apology and editing if not down right deleting later. I have audibly sighed when someone asked me what I think about a topic I really didn't want to think about right now. I've taken sabbaticals from social media platforms and cancelled my subscriptions to reliable journalism outlets.

They might give me a hit of relief for a moment, but these escapes never last and true joy never comes from these methods. These did not give me the snorkel I needed when I felt like I was underwater. They didn't give me the candle in the window when I felt like I was lost. Where is the Good News amidst all the bad news?

Jesus defined Good News. The Good News was Jesus' favorite topic. In many ways, it was his ONLY topic. Every word he spoke and every action he took revealed something about the Good News. When faced with a terrible health crisis, he spoke about Good News, and helped heal people. When faced with systemic oppression of his people, he told his own and all who had ears to hear the Good News about the oppressed being set free.

Here's how Jesus defined the Good News:

Matthew 4:23 - "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom (of God)..."

Matthew 9:35 - "...Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom (of God), and curing every disease and every sickness..."

Matthew 10:7 - "As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’"

Matthew 24:14 - "And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations (peoples); and then the end will come."

This world is not yet like the Kingdom of God, or Kingdom of Heaven. We see the brokenness, the racism and sexism, the greed and lust, the anger and hatred, the violence and prejudice. In today's prayer list, we see some bad news for friends, family, or family of friends.

BUT... But... the GOOD News is that God IS doing a NEW thing. God is flipping upside down all these broken ways, and is re-creating God's beloved creation in the image of the Kingdom of God. Even death itself is begin flipped upside down and made into life again. The Good News is that in Jesus Christ, a new community has been revealed to be more true and more powerful than the broken one we see around us or feel inside us. That new community, that beloved kinship, that Kingdom of God IS the GOOD NEWS! It is real. It is coming. In Jesus, it is already here, and our prayer is that "Thy Kingdom come!" When it does, there will be finally be no more bad news. Until then, let's pray and work for kingdom, and take a break to rest when need to, remembering God is bringing this new amazing wonderful community into being because God loves us.

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