Good News!

This lectionary* year is the year of Mark.  Most Sundays, including Easter Sunday, we read the Gospel from Mark and hear the good news of Jesus as told to that community.  In fact, Mark’s gospel starts with literal good news: “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1)  And later in that first chapter, we also hear Jesus, “proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:14b-15)

Three mentions of “good news” in the first 15 verses! 

It’s always wonderful to hear good news – a friend’s child is doing well in school, a colleague just broke up with a not-so-good-for-them boyfriend, your favorite band is going to be coming to the State Farm Arena, the Illini team is advancing in the tournament… Good news helps balance out all of the bad news that we hear in our daily lives.  Good news gives us hope and encouragement. 

The Good News – the Gospel – is also wonderful to hear.  And, like the good news we might hear in our personal lives, it’s something that counteracts the bad news of the world, encourages us in difficult times, and brings us hope for both today and tomorrow.  Good News is also sharable, possibly life-changing, and (hopefully) makes others happy to hear it, too.

There are also differences between general good news and “The Good News”.  The Good News is always about what God is doing in the world and in our lives.  The Good News is for everyone and not just one team or one family.  The Good News invites us into a deeper relationship with the One who brings it.

I recently spent some time pondering “The Good News” and our congregation.  I even asked our council, “How have you heard The Good News lately? What did it sound like?” For some people, they’d heard the good news spoken in the thoughtful and hopeful way someone formed a prayer.  For others, the resurrection of Jesus – and the resurrection promised to us – is the good news.

The chance to confess our sins and hear God’s word of grace and forgiveness weekly is certainly the good news. 

We might hear the good news spoken in a sermon or in a small group discussion.  We might hear it around a shared meal – and we certainly hear it when that bread is placed in our hands and we are told once again that this is “Christ’s body given for you.”

Where have you heard The Good News lately?  Not just good news, but The Good News?  What did it sound like?

And is that Good News something that you could share, that would make someone else happy to hear it?  Does it invite you into a deeper relationship with the God who speaks it into your life?

One of the ways Good Shepherd is continuing to live out our mission of “Preaching – in Jesus’ Name” and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is by making some of my writing, including sermons and newsletter articles, more widely available through a blog housed on our website.  Starting with this article, I invite you to comment, to share, to connect via this blog. 

Blessings in Christ today and forever,

Pastor Lynette Chapman

*Lectionary: We follow the Revised Common Lectionary, a three-year cycle of readings from the Bible, including readings for Sunday worship.  There are other lectionaries, too, including a Narrative Lectionary that goes through the Bible in a more chronological way over three years.