Good News People
by Allen Johnsey
My pastor called us “Good News People” this past Sunday in his sermon. That is what we should be, people that proclaim Good News! Why is it we are so apt to spread bad news instead?
My pastor is preaching a series on finding our “new normal.” I don't care much for that phrase. I reject it. My gut reaction to all that has happened in our world as a result of Covid-19 is to dismiss it and just wait it out until normal returns. The reality is, however, normal may never return, nor should it.
“The only thing that is constant is change.” – Heraclitus
Change is reality. We may not like it, but there is nothing we can do about it, and I don't think we should try.
My pastor is using passages from the Old Testament Minor Prophetic books of Haggai and Zechariah to illustrate that, even though change comes and sometimes that change seems very negative, there is always good news on the other side. In fact, that good would not come if not for the bad. If the change doesn't occur, the good cannot be produced. This is how God works.
Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi (I assume this is where my pastor will go next week) were contemporaries of each other during the time period that Israelites were returning home after the Babylonian captivity. The temple had been destroyed and they were generations removed from their “normal” way of doing things in Jerusalem. The prophets were encouraging the people to keep moving forward toward a future that would be better than they could imagine.
Here is how Zechariah describes this future “new normal” that is to come,
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts? Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country; and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.” – Zechariah 4:4–8
That is some good news!
This is what the people then needed to focus on, not what everything looked like all around them. This promise of God. It is the same promise to us today. The church is God's people today and He offers these same promises to us. I believe we are exactly what God was referring to in this promise. We are the people that God has saved from the east and west. We are the ones that stand to inherit this promise of safety and peace in God's kingdom.
Now, it may too seem impossible in our present situation. A place where there is no violence. A time when there is no sickness. But none of that is impossible with God. The promise stands. God remains. Let us be people of this good news in this time when all we hear is bad. Let us be that light and salt that Jesus said we were. Let the church, the people of God, be that city on a hill. God has promised to do it. Like the people that heard the words of these prophets, we may not see it, but we are most certainly a part of the story of how God is doing it. Do your part. Be who God has made you to be.
Tell Good News. We are Good News People, after all.
Love one another.
Previously published on Medium in the Mustard Seed Sentinel publication.
About the Author
Allen Johnsey is a former pastor and Christian School Administrator. Allen spent more than 20 years in pastoral ministry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion and a Master of Arts degree in Christian Education.
In this new season of life, Allen is focused on being a keeper of the Way, husband, father and step-father. His unique experiences offer an interesting perspective on life and God.