Bad news makes the headlines. Stabbings, shootings, prejudice, racism, rape, injustice, violent conflict, political confrontation…
Coronavirus-world with its sickness, death, unemployment, loneliness, despair, fear, isolation, domestic abuse…
And marital infidelity, family arguments, out-of-control children, dishonesty and greed of national celebrities or local gossip.
It is easy to be negative…
Recently we have seen great examples of good news. Selfless giving, appreciating others, compassion, healing, survival…
Good news is good.
The Johnny Mercer song says:
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with mister in-between
Or St Paul’s words: ‘Whatever is true, whatever is noble whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is praiseworthy or excellent – think on these things.’
Good news must be remembered, celebrated, emphasised, and practiced
Bad news of brutality, grief, depression, bereavement, sickness and hatred is real.
Good news of love, joy, peace, loyalty, courage and hope is also real.
And it is possible to shift from bad news to good news.
The Christian narrative always speaks of suffering, death and uncertainty being overcome by life, love, reassurance and hope. This transforming good news can come to all through forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption, healing and faith.
We are agents
Good news doesn’t just happen. The prayer of St Francis says that we are its special agents:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive: written and recorded originally by Johnny Mercer (music by Harold Arlen) in 1944.
The Prayer of Saint Francis is usually attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, (c. 1182 – 1226) but it is not certain that he actually wrote it.