Our congregation is celebrating “Good News” with our current sermon series on the first chapter of Mark’s gospel. Mark says that Jesus came proclaiming the good news of God, which is that “the kingdom of God has come near!” (Mark 1:15) What does the kingdom of God look like? According to Mark’s first chapter, it looks like evil being defeated, people being healed, outcasts being included, and sins being forgiven. Hallelujah!
In the consuming news cycle, most of which seems bad, it is hard sometimes to keep our eyes on the good news of Christian faith. But when we do, we shine like stars in the universe, holding out the word of life! (Philippians 2:15) For example: last Sunday night our Welcome Table dinner worship made the local news. A reporter caught the Facebook notice that we welcomed all people to share Christ’s table with us, including Democrats and Republicans, people of all ethnicities and sexualities, and fans of all sports teams (!). She thought our inclusion of all people was newsworthy. Here’s the clip from the newscast: http://www.yourbasin.com/news/local/the-welcome-table_20170123042347/644155120
The truth is, what we were doing was simple Jesus stuff. We follow Jesus who included Levi the tax collector and Simon the zealot at his table. In this time of great controversy about who our nation will include within its borders, the good news of the gospel is very clear: Everyone welcome. Or as we tend to say out here in West Texas, y’all means all. It is not easy to overcome fears and stereotypes. But it is easier when you sit across a table and eat together. This is not unity that just makes nice and doesn’t challenge injustice. This is unity that is built on trust that we are all trying to do the right thing, first, and then, discusses in love how we do that, together. This is the kingdom of God coming near. Keep shining, good news people!