Some Good News
It's been eight weeks since all of this started, and the quarantining began. It's been eight weeks that have gone by like a blur, but also have crawled by with the speed of mud.
I know that makes sense to everyone reading this. You get it.
I've been thinking a lot about the future of the Church in all of this. I've come to the conclusion that nothing will be the same again after Corona, but I'm still unsure exactly what it will look like.
However, I have come to believe that the Church has largely missed the opportunity to be a light in the midst of all of this darkness. There have been some exceptions, mind you, but generally speaking this has been true.
Let me tell you why I think this.
It's saddened me to no end how far too many Christians and Christian leaders have spent the last eight weeks arguing about whether they should be allowed to keep their churches open...
Or berating one another for various political and social views.
And don't even get me started on the number of Christian "leaders" who have claimed the COVID-19 pandemic was punishment from God because of the lack of morality in our culture.
As Christians, we have the most incredible story to tell, but the beauty of the Good News we bear is being overshadowed by all of the negativity too many of us keep spewing out into the world.
But have no fear... even if we're not up to the challenge, God is. The Good News of the Gospel will be proclaimed even if the ones who claim to have a corner on the market of that Good News won't do it.
And if church leaders and pastors can't get their act together to do it---God will find another, and probably better way.
Today I watched the final episode of the web series, "Some Good News," which was created eight weeks ago by John Krasinski, the star of the TV series "The Office," and actor/director of the movie "The Quiet Place."
John created something special with this series. Every week he shared the good news of the week, featuring surprise guests like the cast of the Broadway show Hamilton, Oprah, Steven Spielberg and a host of other actors and celebrities.
He shot the entire show from his home, assisted by his wife and actress Emily Blount and a cast of thousands of contributors who shared their stories of hope and perseverance during this challenging time.
I have absolutely wept during some of these episodes. Wept like a baby.
John frequently said that all he was doing was sharing the good news that was out there--pointing out to everyone that there was still good in the world.
I think it was something more.
As a theologian, I see it all a bit differently. I believe that what John did was lift up the defiant nature of resurrection.
Whether he intended it or not, John's show demonstrated every single week just how stubborn God is about breathing new life into what we thought was dead and gone.
You see, no matter what we say we believe about the stories of Jesus in the Gospels, we all want desperately to know that there is life on the other side of death... resurrection on the other side of what was left for dead.
We all want to believe that hope isn't just a figment of our imagination, but something real and tangible, and that it can't... be... kept... down.
Here's the thing... the evidence of Resurrection is all around us. We just need eyes to see and ears to hear, as Jesus would often say. He would often begin his teaching with those words, or would say, "Amen, Amen, I say to you!"
Which basically means, "Wake up! Pay attention! Open your eyes, sleepers!"
And then he would tell his followers, and anyone else who happened to be listening:
"It's all around you... the signs of what God is doing. The shalom of God is in everything, hiding sometimes, but there nonetheless. And guess what? It's in you as well---this resurrection potential. Don't believe me? Imma 'bout to show y'all!" [Cue the very first Easter Sunday]
That's my translation of several of Jesus' teachings on the kingdom of God, and on how God is always in the resurrection business. Straight from the Greek.
The Church has always been at her best when she has simply embodied the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The Church fulfills her calling when she shows that the kingdom of God is all around us, in us and through us.
So here's my challenge to all of you---be the Church at her best. Proclaim the Resurrection news every chance you get. Point to all the goodness and beauty and truth in the world... the places where new life is springing up.
God will make this Good News known with or without us---but it's so much more fun when we join in... Can I get a witness?
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.
And check out the final episode of "Some Good News" below: