Good News Line July 2015

The best of times: the worst of times?

What’s going on?! There has been much to concern us in recent weeks. The ongoing crisis in the Middle East and across North Africa seems to have been with us for ever: however the atrocity in Sousa (Tunisia) has brought acts of terror close to home. In Athens a government elected to avoid austerity is being forced to impose the very opposite on a bewildered populace. A tough call in the cradle of democracy! But finally, in Vienna, an agreement has been reached to oversee Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It has taken years of painstaking negotiation involving the UK, USA and others to reach this hopeful outcome.

While all of this have been going on an almost forgotten space probe call New Horizons is rapidly approaching (or has approached) its target, Pluto. I have a soft spot for Pluto: a fully fledged planet when the probe was launched 9 years ago has since been relegated to the minor league. Hopefully, New Horizons’s 3 billion mile journey will reveal Pluto and its moons in all their glory and help restore its rightful place in our Solar System’s family.

With all this going on I am reminded of a parable that Jesus told to a mixed audience, including Pharisees and his disciples. They were all living in difficult times, under Roman occupation: cheating tax collectors and “dodgy” religious leaders trying to trip him up. Couldn’t happen today??? The GOOD NEWS is that Jesus had a message for the people then which equally applies to us today. The Gospel writer Luke records one of Jesus’ best known parables in Chapter 15 called The Lost Son or, more familiarly, the Prodigal Son. You can read the full story from verse 11 to 32. Briefly, it tells of a wealthy father and his two sons and inheritance concerns. Rings a bell; doesn’t it?

One son unwilling to wait for his father’s death demands his half immediately. His father accedes. The son gathers all his wealth and sets off to Ibiza and Monte Carlo, attracts new “friends” and blows the lot. Homeless, friendless and dossing on the streets he thinks about what he has lost. Filled with remorse as to what he has done he determines to head off home, beg to be taken on as servant and ask forgiveness of his father. (Many of us know of folk in that situation.) Now comes the amazing part of the story. The father sees his returning son on the horizon: clearly he had been watching for him every day! Not waiting for his son to arrive the father rushes off to meet him. You will know the rest: fatted calf included.

However, the worrying part rarely preached about from our pulpits is the attitude of the other son. Resentful and angry he argues with his father demanding equal treatment. His father reassures his son of his love and inheritance. The Very Good News is that God, our heavenly Father, has that very same attitude as the Prodigal’s dad. If we are honest most of us have been or know of folk who have experience of one or other of the two sons. The great thing is that God’s love extends to cover all of us. All he asks is that we put our trust in His perfect Son, Jesus Christ. If that bit is a mystery to you please contact a church leader or give me a call.

Meanwhile the Greece crisis continues, the Middle East and ISiL situation seems intransigent. But a piece of good news that cheers my heart is that New Horizons’ fly past was successful and amazing pictures of Pluto are eagerly awaited. Perhaps now Pluto can be welcomed back as a full member of our Solar System under its headship, the Son (Sun).

Do have a blessed day and thank you for taking time to read this message.

I trust that it has been helpful.

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