weekly theme #36*
week containing the Sunday between July 3-9
Some people refer to the Gospel as the Good News. Good News. I’m so familiar with the Good News that I treat it as commonplace. I don’t appreciate just how good the Good News is! Moreover, the unbelievable news is that God gives me the authority and honor to tell others the Good News. The Good News includes death, life, redemption, and unity. It includes all people, time, and creation. It is open to all and demanding of each. It is simple and also complex.
The Good News was God’s plan from the beginning. That fact, in itself, is good news. The God of love, power, and wisdom has a plan for all creation – in part and in whole. The Gospel is Good News not because it promises heaven on earth, but because the God of heaven and earth came and lived among us. He modeled a life that included betrayal, opposition, and all sorts of pain. Nevertheless, he also modeled redemption, love, and resurrection. The Gospel does not erase or prevent pain and difficulties, but it allows hope, even joy, through those trials. As David said to his LORD, “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine.” (Psalm 4:7)
I’ve struggled to find a definition for joy that clarifies how it differs from happiness. The best I’ve heard is joy is “a sense of happiness even when there seems to be no reasons for happiness”. Jesus is the substance of the Good News, and that is the greatest reason for joy.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.