Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you. (Gal 3:8, TNIV)
Some people in this world think that you have to hear some really bad news before you hear good news. We’ve all heard the expression, “do you want the bad news or good news first?”.
But, what is good news according to Scripture? It is that God has promised, through Abraham (and throughout the Bible), that God would be with us, for us, loving us, and pursuing us. This God even says that God will make God’s dwelling with us, in our lives, in our neighborhoods, with us.
In Genesis 1:27, it says that we were created in God’s image. That is an image of amazing love and relationship. We were created out of love for relationship.
The Good News continues throughout the Bible as God seeks to build and restore relationship with us and between us, all of us. Jesus demonstrates this good news, God with us in the flesh.
Many times, especially in the church, we want to focus on the bad news. So many times, the world hears a message of sin or what is wrong, but not what is right. They hear that the church is against this or that…they miss out on the good news, especially when their perception is that all they hear from us is bad news.
I know we live in a broken world. I believe that many folks in the “world” understand intuitively that we live broken lives in a messed up world. I also know that we have to sometimes need to share prophetic words to the church and culture. Yet, we have good news to share with this world: the reality of Jesus…not just the “historical Jesus”, but the “cosmic”, universal Jesus that represents all of humanity. God is for us and God has made provision for us to be whole people in loving community with God’s self and with each other…and we get to practice by abiding or living in Christ (John 15:4)!
Abraham got it. He lived by God’s faith, he abided in God’s love. We are all justified by God through God’s faith in God’s love for us. Through Abraham, and so many others, we have seen God keep his promises. God is with us!
I am a Presbyterian (USA) pastor as many of you know. I am now pastoring a United Church of Christ (UCC) church in my neighborhood. Loving it! Part of that is learning a new “polity” and history of this denomination. I am taking a UCC polity class, and learning that the UCC is a denomination based on “covenant”, relational fidelity if you will…promises of deep relationship and community. Abraham lived in this covenant, that doesn’t mean that life is going to be perfect, Abraham knew that, but it did mean that God would not let god of Abraham, or us, or our church!
As our churches find new meaning in neighborhoods, may we boldly live out our agency by the power of God’s Spirit and share good news in our communities. May we, like Abraham, be a vessel for God’s blessing to our neighbors, and the world…and, may we do that with less words and more action.
May we dream and imagine how we can share good news in friendships with others!