During the Prayers of the People the previous Sunday there were an inordinate number of prayers for family’s who had suffered a loss or a difficult diagnosis. Then came the passing of Bill Chetwynd. A devastating loss not only for Joan, but also for our church and wider community.
As I was working on his funeral service, word came of yet another mass shooting; this time in Thousand Oaks, California at a bar welcoming college students. Twelve dead, many more wounded.
There are times when we feel flooded with bad news and we look for any sign of improvement. The status quo even looks good because it means things aren’t getting worse. Even a slight bit of good news is a glimmer of hope (like the “meh” attitude so many seem to have after the midterms).
I say that’s not enough. I say that as people of faith we are actually flooded with good news each and every moment and that wallowing in a morass of negativity when we, ourselves, are a direct product of God’s love is spiritual lethargy at best and sinful at worst.
The trouble is, we rely on the news of the day for our outlook on the world and the news of the day thrives on tragedy. One of the biggest struggles of our modern media age is that good news doesn’t sell. Bad news shocks and bewilders and sells. Good news is seen as nice, but mundane.
So with all of the dismal news of late, did you also hear about:
The wave of women elected in on November 6th?
The Swiss business man who is donating 1 billion dollars to fight climate change?
The man who, on a lark, changed his fishing spot and was at the right place to rescue an 18 month old from the ocean current?
The customers of a California bakery who are repeatedly buying up every donut in the shop so the owner can leave early to be with his ill wife?
The soccer player who launched the world’s largest school for disabled children?
The boy who, on Halloween, discovered an empty bowl of candy on the porch of a home and filled it with the candy he had collected?
The woman who dialed a wrong number only to find and a pizza delivery guy willing to pick up her sick brother?
That Stephan King sold the rights to one of his stories to a group of teens for $1 so that they could make their own film version?
That the ozone layer may be completely healed in our lifetime?
That Muslims raised over $250,000 for the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh saying “anything you need, we are here for you”?
And that is just a small sampling!
I’m not saying we shouldn’t pay attention to the tragedies and challenges of this world. We most definitely should and we should activate ourselves to lessen the burden on those who are experiencing such things. But we should also remember that there is more light than darkness in the world, more good than evil, more life than death.
That is the testimony of our faith and we should never forget it.
See you in church,