Dear friends in Christ,
I know that for the past six months, it’s been a struggle to find good news in the world. But the stories are there, hidden under the umbrella of a pandemic, waiting quietly in the corners of our lives, flying under the radar…they are there. Simple stories that remind us that there is some spark of divine goodness at work in people today. Stories that don’t make it all go away, but help us hold on to our humanity and to what gives us hope and life.
We cannot deny that it’s tough going out there. Hopefully remembering the small bits of good news make the bad news more bearable, because they remind us that we can carry heavy loads when we carry them together.
As we wrapped up the Season of Creation in September and I looked ahead at the readings to come for October and November, I was struck by the fact that we get parable after parable from the gospel of Matthew, and pretty much every single one of them sounds like really bad news. I read the assigned gospel readings for each week and after each one I thought, “Well, that’s just terrible!” Lots of weeping and gnashing of teeth and being thrown into the outer darkness or the fires of hell. Not a lot of love, peace, grace, or joy in these readings at all.
That’s why I’m dubbing the preaching for the months of October and November “Terrible Parables—Good News.” Because if we dig deep enough and pay attention to the kernel at the heart of these “terrible parables,” there really is some good news there. It’s not flashy or glamorous or exciting, but again…a little bit of good news reminds us that God is still there. Together with God and with each other, we can bear the bad news. We can build something in an election season where everything just seems to be trampled and destroyed. We can lift each other up and love each other and our neighbors in a time where human connections seem to be frayed and weakened.
Maybe our lives are like “terrible parables” right now. But they are not devoid of Christ. Jesus is the one who connects us in spite of everything else, and makes it possible for us to continue to love in the face of hopelessness and despair. It is so important that we continue to witness to Christ’s life and his call to keep on loving each other in the face of destructive forces, and to trust that there is a future beyond all of this, not just in heaven but on earth as well. This is why we were put here in this place and time, to prepare for the reality to come, to build the next chapter of how we live, and to build it in a way that keeps the love of God at the center.
Together in Christ,