We are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.Ephesians 2:10
I am probably not the only social commentator who has noticed the insistent, persistent spirit of negativity, cynicism, and pessimism that seems to define much of public discourse of late. This climate is a large contributor to that noted by our scripture passage yesterday See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples…”
Of course, it is the work – the words – of many social commentators that has in part festered and exacerbated this sense of hopelessness and despair.
There has always been a sense, in media, that “bad news sells.” In fact, people expect it so much that I was once accused, in a letter to the editor, of writing commentary that was too optimistic, too idealistic, too – and this is the exact word he used – “cloying.”
At the time I was writing for The Tampa Tribune; and the unhappy reader was, believe it or not, an elder at the Presbyterian Church in Sun City!
Good News is Real!
My reason for writing so positively – not exclusively, but predominantly – is my dedication to the truth. And the truth happens to be that, for the most part, life is good, people are decent, and the news – if reported accurately – is full of hopeful stories.
I believe that God has – in the words of the New Testament writer – set aside good things for us to do, planned them for us. Then, through the ministry of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, God also equips us, strengthens us, sustains us, and gives us hope.
This is a similar idea to one I referenced when I spoke at Rebekah’s retirement. A cynical, jaded preacher had accused her of being “naïve,” and her response was priceless: “After this many decades in ministry,” she said, “it’s not naïveté at all. What’s going on is that I believe!”
This is where I stand too. The Good News Story is not only what I believe, it is the conclusion I have come to after 65 years of living. Rebekah and I both quote from Acts 4 because it’s an observation of truth: “But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’”
We can’t help it. It is our story.
So I will enlist the help of our youngest grandchild, Geoffrey (14 months), who is evidently prepared to take a stand on the issue of positivity, promise, and hope for the future.
“Come on in,” he is saying, “the water is lovely.”
And by ‘water,’ he means this state of being that just can’t wait for what is next in life, that believes anything is possible, that is committed to living with every ounce of energy and imagination and passion… while smiling… while inviting all of us to join him….
That’s all I have today. – DEREK