Reading: Mark 1.1-8
Reflection: I was struck by the words, “The beginning of the good news…” Every Gospel in the canon, like everything, has a beginning and an end but it occurred to me that even though the book of the gospel has an end the good news does not. The good news (Greek evangelion – tidings of victory) is like a bell that had been rung, and the vibrations never cease throughout time or space. It is a rock thrown into the lake of the whole creation that creates ever expanding ripples, moving all things. The good news of Jesus’ victory, his vindication over the powers of this world, should be good news for all for in the fullness of time, the dominion of God will come in its fullness, and all things will be made whole.
This past week, the United States have had a wake-up call, a deep cutting and blazing reminder that the freedoms promised in our civil life remain unfulfilled. We have witnessed white citizens threaten the government with rifles, hanging Kentucky’s governor in effigy with legal impunity, while a black man was strangled to death with the literal weight of white supremacy bearing down on his neck for writing bad checks. These are but two examples of the hundreds and thousands of examples, large and small, that happen every year in the US. The civil promise is unfulfilled.
We are the Church. We are not the civil authorities, but we must stop and ask ourselves, in the historically white denominations, how we have contributed to this state of affairs. How have we bolstered this racist agenda? When have we patted ourselves on the back saying, “We would not have participated in lynchings!” while watching from the sidelines as the police and other civil authorities ravaged black and other minority communities? Why is the good news not being spread in those communities by us? Where must we take corporate responsibility? Where must we, I, take personal responsibility?
To be sure this is painful and uncomfortable work, but the ringing bell of the good news calls us to repentance, calls us to God’s vision of freedom, calls us to justice. In these closing days of the Great Fifty Days, it is imperative to remember that the work goes on. The Spirit came on Pentecost, not to endow a few with magical powers, but to ignite and impassion all of God’s people for the mission of repentance, the changing of the human heart and mind to God’s heart and mind, the mission of reconciliation, the bringing of all people back to God, and the mission sanctification, making the whole world holy for our God is holy.
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in us the fire of your love. Amen.