Sure Could Use A Little Good News Today. You’ve heard me refer to that before. It was a hit song by Anne Murray back in 1983. I’ve been singing it a lot lately, hoping that in this too often discouraging (and sometimes depressing) moment in history I can somehow locate some good news as an antidote to the evening news.
So, last week I watched a couple movies. One was “Manchester By The Sea.” I knew it was not billed as an “upper,” but I also knew that the acting was supposed to be superb. So it was. The acting was magnificent. Though there was not a weak performance by anyone in the cast, particularly Michelle Williams, Casey Affleck, and Lucas Hedges were astonishing in their roles. But, just as the rumors about the good acting were correct, so were the ones about the dark nature of the film. Really dark. Extraordinarily dark. After I saw it, I watched a mini-marathon of “Diners, Drive-Ins, And Dives” just to get my head back in a happier place. I’m serious about that. I actually did. Then Page and I decided that maybe “La La Land” would be more of a feel-good experience. It was most of the way through, I thought … until the conclusion. I didn’t like the ending. That’s too mild. I hated the ending. Why can’t love win once in a while (other than on the Hallmark Channel)? Why does a piece of fiction have to mimic reality where love gets lost in the lust for money, prestige, and power? That part of reality is what most of us are trying to escape nowadays. Where’s Emily Bronte when we need her? Or Emily Dickinson? Or Anne Murray? Hey, I’m looking for some good news here!
Then there was the Super Bowl. Oh good Lord! Unlike some New Yorkers, I am not a Boston-hater. I like the city. It’s beautiful and historic. Their clam chowder is good (though I admit that I like our red clam chowder better). Though I am a lifelong Yankees fan, I’m not one who therefore detests the Red Sox. Williams and Yastrzemski were Red Sox. Those skills are hard to hate. I actually used to be a Celtics fan growing up (Russell, Cousy, Bird, McHale, Sach Sanders – what’s not to like?). So, I’m not one of those anti-Boston people. It’s just the Patriots. I cannot bring myself to like them. Any of them. Belichick. Brady. That dopey mascot with his over-sized Revolutionary War hat. I know Jesus said, “Love one another.” Good. I will love them. I just don’t like them. And I cannot cheer for them to win … which made the first 50 minutes of the Super Bowl a lot of fun. Atlanta beat them like a drum. I’m not particularly an Atlanta fan, either, but I am when they play the Patriots. Everything was going beautifully. Offense. Defense. Lady Gaga at halftime. Then came the great collapse. Atlanta is young and inexperienced, and sometimes a team hasn’t played long enough to know how to win. Atlanta gave it away. Too many costly mistakes. Too many rookie-like poor decisions. Even with four minutes to go they had it in the bag. Just kick a field goal, take the trophy, and go home to the land of really good stuff like chicken-fried steak. But instead, they collapsed. We’ve seen it twice in three years. Seattle gave one away two years ago. Atlanta did the same this year. And each time, it was given to the Patriots. Seriously. How often can that keep happening? Hey, I’m looking for some good news here!
If you can’t count on Hollywood or the Super Bowl to give you some good news, well, what kind of a world is this? Of course, there are those cute cat or puppy videos on YouTube, but they are really “news.” They’re just videos of somebody else’s pets. I’ve got a dog of my own, so why do I need to watch someone else’s on-line? Back to my question: Where can I find a little good news?
Okay, I am nothing if not predictable. I’m a preacher, after all, so you saw it coming. But just because it is predictable doesn’t make it untrue. I find the ultimate Good News in my faith. When all princes and powers and movies and athletic events and economic crises and “wars and rumors of wars” have been forgotten, our Bible says that Jesus is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) In other words, in a constantly changing (and often chaotic world), Jesus is the one thing I can depend on... the one entity who is forever with us and for us. In fact, that was His promise just before he ascended into Heaven: “Lo! I will be with you always....” (Matthew 28:20) Whatever political winds are blowing, whatever momentary crises seize us in fear, whatever the news may be out of Moscow or Tehran or Tripoli or Pyongyang or Damascus or Sana’a or Washington, DC, whatever the Stock Market numbers may be, whatever challenges we face as a nation or a world, whatever illnesses rear their ugly heads, whatever individuals abuse or betray us, whatever professional forks may appear in the road, whatever hard-to-understand decisions may be made by denominations that profess to follow a Prince of Peace, whatever romances may end, whatever dreams may disappear like a mist in the breeze, whatever we face, Jesus is there to face it with us and to give us the power to survive and to overcome. “Lo! I will be with you always,” alongside another of His promises, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9), provide me with the Good News I need to move forward in a world like this one.
Sure Could Use A Little Good News Today. If you also find yourself singing that currently, just look to the gospels and the story of Jesus. None of the world’s bad news is strong enough to quiet the good news we find in Him.