A Daily Dose of Good News
Monday, April 19, 2021
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Good morning everybody! It is time for our Daily Dose of Good News and I think we need a double dose. Because it has been a bloody and hard weekend, if you’ve looked at the news at all. I know some of you aren’t looking at the news, for just that reason. It’s hard to look at. For those of you who haven’t, there were shootings in multiple different areas around the county, including Nebraska, Minnesota, Texas, Columbus, Louisiana. I think two of the most tragic ones were in Columbus and Louisiana. In Columbus, there were some people who were attending a vigil for the one-year anniversary of someone who was shot, and as they were gathered, there was a drive-by shooting, which impacted another passer-byer in a car. In Louisiana, there was shooting that started over a verbal confrontation at a 12-year-old’s birthday party. So, in terms of looking at the Good News, knowing the tough news in front of us, let’s see what God has to say about it and let’s see where we can find comfort. So, a double dose today, I’m going to give you two different Scriptures that are in the lectionary for today. The first is from 1 John 3:10-17 and then we’ll skip to Jeremiah. I think the I John confronts what we’re dealing with now…
The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.
For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
And as I turn the page, for those of you who may not have watched Dorothy Cameron’s memorial online, there was a lot spoken in there about love, and how she embodied love, and loved those around her deeply and fiercely. Even with her goofy sense of humor and all her adventures and escapades, that love was a really core value for her. As Christians, siblings in Christ with her and siblings in Christ with one another, how can we embody love? So when we see brothers and sisters in need- how are we embodying love towards them? Remembering that Jesus died for us, and went to all that trouble for us, out of love. How do we go to some trouble for one another?
And now from Jeremiah 30:1-11a. I think this is a really big comfort, so get ready for some balm to be put on the wounds that are there, which I’m simply acknowledging.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. For the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people,
(Fortunes here, could be monetary, but it might be something like returning the captives, or those who have been taken in war to other places. So, the idea of restoration.)
I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their ancestors and they shall take possession of it.
These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
Thus says the Lord:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor?
Why has every face turned pale?
Alas! that day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be rescued from it.
On that day, says the Lord of hosts, I will break the yoke from off his neck, and I will burst his bonds, and strangers shall no more make a servant of him. But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
But as for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, says the Lord,
and do not be dismayed, O Israel;
for I am going to save you from far away,
and your offspring from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
and no one shall make him afraid.
For I am with you, says the Lord, to save you;
Can we rest in that? “I am with you”, says the Lord, “to save you”. While all of us are doubled over- like these men who had their hands on their loins- it’s a representation of pain. Anyone who has been through childbirth can tell you, it’s painful. That’s what they’re depicting here. Everybody’s faces are pale, everybody is doubled over. I think we feel like that. I think that resonates with us, of: “Oh my goodness, this time feels horrible- in many ways.” While we acknowledge the pain, the awful and the lack of love that seems to be pervasive; we have to hold in the other hand, that God is with us- in this. As difficult as it is, as painful as it is, that we trust in God, that we know that God will restore, that God brings peace, and that God will break the bonds and the chains that bind us.
So I think it’s a great opportunity to be praying today, about God help us see the chains that bind us. God, rescue us from the hatred, theanimosity, the polarization, and all of the strife we have with one another. And asking God to help release those bonds for our country, for our city, for our congregation, for us individually. We all have ways that we are bound. We can ask God to be the Redemptive God that God is, a God of Liberation, and a God of Freedom, who has better for us. And to say “God, usher that in. Usher that into my life. Usher that into who I am. Usher that into the deepest parts of my being. Help me know what bonds You want to break- in me, in our community, in our city, in our world. Let me be open to your work in my life”. So that freedom and restoration and peace can happen, because our God is capable. So trust that as awful as it feels, our God is with us always. Our God has the capacity to save us. Our God has the capacity to their break these bonds were holding onto us. We’re not trapped and this is not forever. Our God is with us. So hold on tight to that today: “I am with you to save you”, says the Lord. I’m with you to save you- that’s good news. Thanks be to God that God is with us because we need it. Amen. Bye-bye everybody.