Saturday, March 13, 2010
Spreading Good News
St. Patrick was sent on a mission to Ireland, the land where he spent his teenage years as a slave. His mission was to bring the good news of the freedom Jesus brings to the Irish people. He was a devout and peaceful man, and it is no wonder we still celebrate his life and mission to this day...
Here in Syracuse we celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a big parade. So my family rode the bus downtown to take part in the festivities. As soon as we stepped off the bus we could hear someone else attempting to bring good news to the crowds "Irish" folks here today (we're all Irish on St. Patrick's Day right!). He had signs on his chest and back, one read "Wine is a Mocker," while the other had a bunch of fine print and a giant "HELL" written across it. He shouted quotes from the Bible and his version of the good news from the street corner, while other's shouted back, "Go Home!"
Members of large church that's located just outside of Syracuse were also on hand, but had a different method of spreading the good news. On a cold blustery day they offered free hand warmers, rain ponchos, and bottled water.
As the parade started one float had members of a Catholic order holding banners that touted the programs they offer to those in need in our city, again their way of spreading the good news.
How should we be spreading the good news? Dietrich Bonhoeffer encourages us to not only focus on proclaiming God's word, but also on listening to our friends, neighbors, and enemies, seeking to actively help them, and bearing with them through troubling times. To me it seems hard to do all that from a street corner, whether you are there shouting, handing out hand warmers, or advertising social programs.
It may take more time than we like, it might not be as easy to do as people make it out to be, but we do need to spread the good news. So let's make the effort, and let's find ways to listen to what's going on in people's lives. Let's find ways to actively help them. Let's find ways to hang in there and bear with them. And yes, let's also humbly share God's word as it has been revealed to us. Perhaps then it will truly be received as good news.