Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Mark 1:9-15 (NRSV)
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
“Repent, and believe the good news.” Does this statement mean that before we repent, we believe the bad news? Repenting of the bad news is central to the gospel. It is the instruction of Jesus who tells his disciples to follow his way instead. Don’t do what you’ve always done. Repent. Follow me.
The problem with the bad news is that it doesn’t always sound like bad news. Bad news is couched in ways that makes it seem like the best news, way better than what Jesus calls us to do.
Jesus’ good news is self-sacrificial; focused on the least of these; full of peace, acceptance, grace, mercy, patience, and all sorts of other things that are hard to do. Through the power of the Holy Spirit acting in us, we find goodness in God’s will for the world, even when the world tells us everything else is better.
As Christians, we know that living in the way of Christ is goodness is to be found. We find this goodness by being a friend to a stranger, helping those who have been wronged to find reconciliation, loving a neighbor who is not the easiest person to love, feeding an enemy, caring for one of the least of these. Do any of these beautiful things that Christ calls us to do, and we know the good that will flow out.
So, repent, and believe the good news.
God of good news, we ask you to forgive us when we find other news appealing. We pray that you remind us in every moment what the good news is really about, a faith that calls us to love you and to love neighbors as much as we love ourselves. Amen.
Go with God.