Psalm 125, 1 Kings 18:1-18, Ephesians 6:10-17
When long-awaited rescue arrives, we typically call this good news. But when rescuers arrive in the Bible, this good news often signals trouble for the ones who first hear about it.
Moses is born under the threat of infanticide.
Elijah’s return sounds like a death sentence to Obadiah.
Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, is told that her soul will be pierced as with a sword.
Much like a surgeon’s scalpel, the healing good news of God often disguises itself in the surprising infliction of affliction: conflict, pain, and even suffering.
The good news works because the good news does work that needs to be done. At times, this good work of the good news looms like a scepter swayed over us by our enemies. At other times, it does its work from the inside out. But, always, the comfort is in the cure.
During this Christmas season, it is comforting to await and anticipate a time when the violence that fractures our sin-scarred world will be overcome. The good news is that this good work has already begun.
The bad (good) news is that this good work will require something of us. Something uncomfortable. Something sacrificial. Something we might otherwise wish to avoid.
Something like taking the risk of bringing new life into a world in the throes of death.
Something like speaking difficult truths to those who hold power over us.
Something like daring to believe that a refugee on the run might be the key to peace on earth.
LET US PRAY
God, we thank You for the gift of good news, even when it comes with a cost. Help us to be people courageous enough to receive and respond to Your life-altering message this season, that the good news might do its good work in and through us.
Dave McNeely wears many hats at Carson-Newman University. He is the Coordinator of the Faith & Justice Scholars program, Adjunct Professor of Religion and a Student Success Counselor. "During this season of Advent, I am most looking forward to another tender, Tennessee Christmas, the only Christmas for me."