If you are of a “certain age”, you remember that the most newsworthy items in a newspaper were expressed in a BIG HEADLINE! If it was really earth-shaking, important or very gossipy, all the major newspapers right across this great nation of ours would share that newsworthy bit, with only slight variations in wording.
Newspapers are pretty much a thing of the past, but sharing newsworthy items is not. Instead of headlines we have hashtags, #thelatestnews, on our social media feeds, and if a thing is really earth-shaking, important or very gossipy, all of the memes and hashtag feeds share it, with only slight variations.
Christians have a particularly newsworthy item to share in the “Good News” of the Gospel. It’s a timeless truth that speaks as powerfully now as it did way back when the first Christians shared it in house churches or by word of mouth. In those days there were no printed newspapers. Instead, letters intended to be circulated from house to house or gathering to gathering, heralds, missionaries and travellers were tasked with sharing the really earth-shaking, important or very gossipy stories that people wanted or needed to hear.
That our particular story, the Good News of the Gospel, has survived all these years is a wonder, and something of a Good News story in and of itself. But the reason it has continued to be spread as successfully as it has is because it has always spoken to the newsworthy headlines or hashtags of the day. For Jesus’ followers, telling the story of Jesus is never a separate bit of news. It is always part of the news, in the form of a response to what is happening, a tool to deal with it, or as an unchangeable standard giving people a sense of stability in the midst of great change or upheaval.
The strength of the Good News is the constancy and consistency of Christ. Jesus’ message is one of love no matter who the person is or what they have done. It is one of justice and mercy in all situations. It is one of resistance against evil and forgiveness when we mess up. No matter what the news of the day might be, Jesus’ Good News helps us deal with it, underscoring the truth of a happy story or challenging us when the tale is troubling.
Jesus Himself is our most newsworthy, earth-shaking, important and very gossipy story. No matter what the headline or #thelatestnews might be, His Good News helps us understand it and deal with it. The example He sets and His teachings are foundational for His followers, but earth-shattering for those who don’t know how much better their lives could be by following Him. In a time of crisis and confusion, Jesus anchors us firmly on the ground of love and justice. And in our everyday lives, Jesus offers us great gossip, with stories of healing, helping and standing with those odd neighbours nobody else likes.
Looking for some good news today or any day? There is no more newsworthy story to tell than that of Jesus, author and hero of the ultimate Good News.