Have you ever heard the William Butler Yeats poem, “The Second Coming”? The first verse goes like this:
Turning and turning in the widening gyreFrom The Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
While you may not know the poem directly, you may have heard just the third line; it is a line oft quoted. Some days… some years… some decades feel like the picture Yeats paints.
Bad news. It surrounds us. It beats us down. It tears us up. It sends some of us retreating from the world, and it impassions others of us to consume it more and more. “Big” bad news of world events runs across the 24-hour news cycle, and “little” bad news blows through our homes like a cold wind.
Did you know that the word “Gospel” literally means “good news?” Consider this passage from 1 Corinthians:
Now, brothers and sisters, I want you to remember the Good News I told you. You received that Good News message, and you continue to base your life on it. That Good News, the message you heard from me, is God’s way to save you. But you must continue believing it. If you don’t, you believed for nothing.
I gave you the message that I received. I told you the most important truths: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; that he was buried and was raised to life on the third day, as the Scriptures say; and that he appeared to Peter and then to the twelve apostles. After that Christ appeared to more than 500 other believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died. Then he appeared to James and later to all the apostles. Last of all, he appeared to me. I was different, like a baby born before the normal time.1 Corinthians 15:1-7, Easy to Read Version
Here’s another statement of good news, also from Paul:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:6-8, NIV
Jesus had some interesting things to say about our eyes, for example:
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”Matthew 6:22-23, NIV
Or maybe you remember this passage earlier in the same sermon:
“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”Matthew 5:26, NIV
The context of the Matthew 6 passage was about where our treasure lies, while the Matthew 5 passage was about adultery. In both, though, the idea was that where you look matters. Jesus cares about the focus of your eyes and your heart.
Has 2020 got you down? Are you just buried under the weight of all the bad news? When things start to feel a little better, do you reserve your joy because you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop? Do you feel edgy and out of sorts on even the best of days? Is it hard to hope?
Perhaps your eyes are fixed on the wrong kind of news. There’s a difference between what you see and where you fixate. Choose good news.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV, emphasis added
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