Good News

This morning I stopped, as usual, for my early Sunday morning tea and bagel and the final push towards finalizing preparation for worship.  This particular morning started earlier than usual.  A knock on our bedroom door roused me from sleep to discover one of our exchange students describing in confusion and distress a leak in their bathroom.

I thought that perhaps she had been doing laundry the night before.  If the loads are too big, the washer will sometimes leak water out.  It’s a nuisance but it seems a bigger nuisance than replacing or repairing the washer, and it doesn’t happen very often.  I assured her that I would take care of mopping it up.  She was still distressed, worried about how bad the situation would be by later in the morning.  A brief view of their bathroom indicates why.  It isn’t the washer that’s leaking, it’s the toilet that is overflowing.  Backed up and overflowing.  And let’s just say that the water is not clean.

I send her off to bed assuring her that I’ll take care of it.  I have no idea how, but I know it’s not her problem to handle.  She let me know the bad news and now it was my job to deal with it.  An hour or more later and I had the bathroom cleaned up and sterilized and we were awaiting a plumber to come and clear the line.  As I bought my tea and bagel I didn’t know the scope of the problem or the cost to fix it yet.  I was a tad preoccupied.

As he handed me my bagel and tea, the owner said something, and in my early morning fog and the fumes of bleach clinging to me and my increasing problems with hearing, it took me a few seconds after walking away to process.  Go out and save some lives, he had said.

It might be the world’s most succinct pep talk, and I appreciated his statement since I know he doesn’t probably share my faith (he’s someone who considers himself very spiritual but not religious).  As I put the cream and sugar in my tea, the thought that came into my head quickly was that I wasn’t going to be saving lives today.  Not because there aren’t lives to be saved, but because that’s not my job.

It’s God’s job to save lives, and that’s what He has done in Jesus.  Fixed what we can’t.  Opened a way for anyone who wants to be reconciled to the God who created them but whom they have been in rebellion against (whether actively or passively, consciously or unconsciously) since before they were born.  It’s not my job to save lives in the spiritual sense – I don’t have that power in me.

But I am blessed to be the bearer not of bad news like our poor student in the wee hours of this morning, but rather the proclaimer of good news.  What amazingly good news!  In a world that markets and manufactures despair and vitriol, that constantly seeks an angle for exploitation and manipulation, what a blessing to be able to share unmitigated good news.  There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ! (Romans 8:1, and part of the Epistle lesson I am preaching on this morning).  Whatever else may go wrong in my life, from toilets exploding to unforeseen health issues and struggles in relationship, at least I know that I am no longer condemned by God for my sin!  What a relief!  How simple everything else seems when I remind myself of this glorious message of promise and hope!

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