10 March 2019: Proclaim the Good News
Each Sunday in Lent our church is going to look at the Five Marks of Mission:
- Proclaim the Good News
- Respond to human need
- Transform unjust structures of society and pursue peace
- Teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- Safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain the life of the Earth
It fell to me to start the series of sermons by preaching on the first (as our church summarises it, “Tell”) at our 8 o’clock communion service. I said that in order to proclaim the Good News effectively we had to know for ourselves the answer to five questions:
- What is the Good News? For me it is that, through Christ’s sacrifice, God offers to all a renewed relationship with Himself.
- Why is it Good News? Because that renewed relationship gives us redemption from the past, membership of His kingdom whilst still living on this Earth, and an identity based on God’s love.
- For whom is it Good News? Everyone; it is not restricted to a chosen few.
- When should it be proclaimed? For the first Christians the Good News was urgent because they expected the world to end in their own lifetimes. In view of the depressing nature of the news reports these days, it is urgent for us too.
- How do we put the Good News across? I didn’t provide an answer to this question but instead invited the 8 o’clock congregation to come back to Sunday Special at 10:30, when it would be discussed. (None did.)
I led Sunday Special, with two helpers. One of them got the younger children to prepare cardboard hands with the critical word from each of my five questions marked on the fingers and thumb and with the full version of the question on the back. The other led the adults in a discussion of the “How”, splitting it into three phases:
- Say. We can tell people the Good News, but that just means they hear it without necessarily taking it any further.
- Show. We can demonstrate the truth of our beliefs by showing them in action, eg through what we do for the good of others outside the church context.
- Share. Others can experience the truth of the Good News for themselves by joining in activities with us.