There sure is a lot of bad news. Local news is filled with the bad news of car accidents, house fires, burglaries, drug convictions, child abuse, bomb scares, rape, domestic violence, plane crashes, storm devastation, budget cuts, layoffs and more. Some of the news is so bad it makes the national news. And world news can get really bad with escalating conflicts in many regions of the world, terrorist activity and disasters such as earth quakes. And then of course there is plenty of bad news in our own lives that doesn’t get media converge such as loss of a job, cancer diagnosis, family conflict, marital unfaithfulness, and again the list goes on.
In the midst of all this the Church claims to have Good News. But often the way this News is described doesn’t sound all that good. Some will sum up the Good News like this: You are a guilty sinner, God judges and convicts you of your sin which deserves death, God sent his Son Jesus to die for your sin on the cross, and if you put your trust in Jesus for forgiveness you will go to heaven instead of being cast into hell when you die.
Others don’t want to call anyone a sinner and just talk about love. The Good News is reduced to the goodness within people. For instance the story of Jesus miraculously feeding 5000+ people (5000 men plus women and children so could have been many more than 5000) out on a mountainside with a few loaves of bread and some fish is explained away by proposing that Jesus inspired everyone to share what they had so that there was more than enough to go around.
But the Good News that I read about in Scripture seems much more radical, and much more Good than either of these views. I see people all around me who are hungry, thirsty, lonely, and fearful. We may not see ourselves this way, but the evidence is overwhelming if we look around us and how we are trying to fill the emptiness. Addictions abound – alcohol, drugs, food, sex. We work ourselves silly so we can at some point enjoy the good life. We have houses full of stuff we don’t use but shop endlessly for more stuff. We try to find meaningful connection through social media – facebook, instagram, texting, and tweeting, yet seem less connected through truly meaningful relationships than ever.