Today I took a walk up Knockfarrel, an Iron Age hillfort near where we live. The views-as you can see- are spectacular but what it brought to mind was a passage from Isaiah one perhaps more familiar to us from an Advent setting;
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Isaiah 52 v 7
How lovely it would be to hear good news instead of the bad news we are bombarded with from every direction at the moment! Every fresh news bulletin brings more grim statistics and more for us to worry about. It also brings sad news of how many are so afraid that they are hoarding food and supplies to the extent that shelves in shops are empty and some customers, often the most vulnerable and needy, are having to do without.
So, in this climate of fear and panic, I wondered, what would look like good news to you? That your local supermarket had suddenly got shelves full of toilet rolls and hand sanitizer? That the company you work for is going to keep on paying you despite shutting down its operations? That your loved ones are still well? That they had miraculously discovered a cure for Covid-19?
I am sure we could all come up with a list of what would be good news for us. But you know there is good news in all of this, and all credit to the news agencies that they are actually sharing this as well! At this time of global crisis so many people are reaching out to others, people offering help, support, doctors and nurses working every hour there is to prepare, people coming out of retirement to help…the list could go on. Simple acts of human kindness and love that bring encouragement and hope despite the grim news feeds.
And, as that text from Isaiah reminds me, the very best news is-quite literally-the Gospel. Gospel means “good news” and the one who bears and brings that good news is Jesus our Saviour who has come to be one of us. He knows what it is like to be human, he knows and understands our fear and he will be with us every single step of the way. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever, the God of love who comes to bear our sins and carry our burdens. The God who has overcome death and brings the promise of eternal life to each and every one of us.
May we daily give thanks for all the good that is being shown, may we do all we can to show human kindness and love and may we give thanks for the good news of Jesus, our help, our refuge and our Saviour.