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Expecting the good news.

April 07 2017
April 07 2017


This week I heard a piece of good news. It was a simple piece of news that took about four words to convey and does not impact me directly. But I knew it was news that had been hoped for a long time, and maybe because of that, hearing it was overpoweringly good. I jumped up out of my chair and clapped and was inappropriately loud in an office setting. I texted my husband on a business trip to tell it to him, too. And as we texted back and forth I told him “I was surprised by how much I had wanted to hear some good news.”

I think whether we know it or not, we all want to hear good news. But how often do we actually expect to hear it? I am often more prepared to hear bad news. Some of that may be because more and more, the struggles that my friends and I are living and witnessing in each other’s lives are hard things that are going to be sticking around — serious illnesses; the failing health of parents; marriages that are struggling; uncertainty for our children. Where is there good news in things that are always going to be hard?

Lent this year has been a busy season, and maybe not as reflective as I had hoped for at the start. But what God has brought to my attention since Ash Wednesday is that He is present and constantly meets me with good news even when I don’t look for it. As is usually the case, I have heard this almost in spite of myself and my busyness, through the simple fact of sitting down in church on Sunday.

In our seven years at Redeemer, one thing I have become deeply thankful for is liturgy. I have noticed that I now listen expectantly to hear the things we say to each other at each point in the church year. More than that, it has taught me to long to hear what I need to hear.

I need to hear that Christ has died and is risen and will come again; Hallelujah.

I need to hear that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it; Thanks be to God.

I need to hear that this is the body of Christ broken for me, the blood of Christ poured out for me.

Those are the pieces of good news that are always true, no matter what is going on around me. At times I probably repeat them glibly and without as much reflection as they deserve. But even when I am failing to register their significance in the moment, those words are digging down deeper and deeper into my heart, carving out a space that can only be filled by those same truths.

A couple of years ago in an effort to help my children prepare to participate in the liturgy on Easter morning I asked our son, then about four years old, “Pastor Tom is going to stand up on Easter Sunday and say ‘Christ is risen!’ And what are we going to say back?” He thought a minute and then guessed “Yayy?” We all laughed, and I posted it on Facebook as one of those hilarious things kids say. But I love the joy baked into his idea of how we should respond to the good news of the resurrection. I want to have ears to hear that permanent, deeper joy, even when the hard things in life also seem permanent.

Two Sundays from now we are all going to have the opportunity to be together for worship on Easter morning. Tom is going to stand up and tell us that greatest of all the pieces of good news:  “Christ is risen!” And we are all going to say together,  “He is risen indeed!” I need to hear it. If you’ve been longing for some good news, I hope you’ll be there to hear it with me.

You can find the schedule for Holy Week services at Redeemer here.


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