From Father's Desk

Dear Parish Family,

We have just spent some weeks reexamining our faith, both what it means to believe and how we might take some steps to grow deeper with God. We covered some of the S.T.E.P.S. of growing with God: Serve, Tithe, Engage, Prayer, Share. Last week we followed Naaman the Syrian as he received healing and the deeper gift of faith in the one true God of Israel (see 2 Kings 5.) How many of the S.T.E.P.S. have you taken to grow with God over the past five weeks?

This weekend we begin a new series called “Good News!” Over the next weeks we will be walking together with more the “what” of our faith. By that I mean, “8th Grade Faith” was more about the “that” of faith - having faith and growing in faith. Now we are turning more to the content, to the “what” of what we believe. Does that make sense?

And the first thing to share with you is that the word “Gospel” means “Good News.” People think that the English word comes from old Anglo-Saxon for: god (good) and spell (to tell) - to tell good. Very similar to the Greek euaggelion (eu well, aggello, I bear a message). Euaggelion originally meant “reward of good tidings” given to the messenger, and then just “good tidings”.

For example, we heard St. Paul last week “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal” (2 Timothy 2:8). We could easily swap out the word gospel for: the good news that I bear. And he is willing to bear that news even unto death. The title of my article this week is an echo of the glorious announcement that the messenger of God bore to the shepherds on that fateful night, “good news of great joy…a Savior has been born for you” (see: Luke 2:9-12). Those are some of the sweetest words ever announced! I bet those super glad tidings lightened the heart of the angel who bore them.

But let’s take a step back. People love news! Either gossip or encouraging others to spill the beans should be something confessed. Because the game of telephone reminds us just how unreliable news heard along the line can be, and thus how damaging. How does the cliche go: get it straight from the horse’s mouth! But as the news spreads, it tends to get bigger and messier and usually worse. People love to recall and spread bad news, damaging stories, things that tear down rather than build up. We are fallen creatures.

The Gospel - is the gooooooood news! And it is soooo good, so mind-blowing, so awe-inspiring, so captivating, that it warrants sharing. The Good News of Jesus overcomes our negativity bias, and out of love we want to share it. We can become messengers like that the angel who visited the shepherds. So here is what I would ask of you this week, especially if you are reading this via Flock Note on Thursday. Invite someone to come to church this weekend who needs to hear the good news. As we are beginning a new series it is a great opportunity to reach out and share the faith. Practice the Share step of growing with God and invite somebody to join you in church this weekend, or to join you for the series next week.

I am looking forward to preaching the Good News!

Fr. Wilson