When the Bad News Is the Good News
The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. – 2 Peter 3:10 (NRSV)
Lewis and Clark were on an expedition.
At one point, Lewis said to his team, “Guys, I have good news and bad news. First, the good news: We covered 50 miles today, more than any other day on our entire trip! Now the bad news: We’re lost.”
There are many such “good news/bad news” jokes with a variety of scenarios. I’d like to add one more based on the text from 2 Peter.
Peter: “Church, I’ve got good news and more good news: The Day of the Lord is coming!”
Church: “Yay! And there’s even more good news?”
Peter: “Yes! When the Lord returns, the heavens will vanish, everything on earth will be dissolved with fire and all of humanity’s shameful deeds will be displayed on God’s jumbotron! Can I get an amen?!”
I don’t associate the coming of Christ with seemingly bad news, definitely not in this season of good cheer. Yet, for the writer of 2 Peter, the bad news is the good news. Why? Because their church faced regular persecution and hardship. Word that Christ was coming to reveal and destroy the evils they deplored could not have been more welcome.
We are no different. When the daily news is bad, really bad, we quickly pray for its undoing, such as…
God, we feel lost among so much bad news: white supremacy, nationalism, authoritarianism, greed, falsehoods, pollution, pestilence, disease, hunger, addiction, violence, rising temperatures, wildfires, storms. May they all be destroyed when you appear. Soon please.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.