Sermons 2009
News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Lent 1B 2009                                                           Mark 1:9-15


 Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

            A few years ago a Ukrainian businessman bought a pager for each member of his staff as a New Year's gift. As he was returning to his office from the pager shop, all 50 beepers on the back seat of his automobile burst out screeching at the same time.  He was so alarmed that he drove his car into a lamp post, just 100 meters from his office.

            After he assessed the damage to the car, he looked the message on the 50 pagers:  Congratulations on a successful purchase!" (1)

            In general it's the bad news – newspaper headlines and world events – that generally clamor the loudest to get noticed.  And there is enough bad news all around.  One study was done of a large group of people who were instructed to evaluate all the information they received for a year and a half. They were asked to record whether what they were seeing and hearing all day
long was positive or negative. These researchers determined that ninety percent of the input the group received was negative – bad news.  And a careful study of economics usually reveals the news that the best time to buy anything is last year.


And it does seem that in the current economic and fiscal crisis there is very little good news to be found, although some commentators and analysts report a silver lining to the dark clouds here and there.

            That’s no surprise to most of us.  Over a half-century ago, Franklin Roosevelt told about an old man who was losing his hearing.  He went to the doctor for help.  He was advised to quit drinking alcohol. When his family asked him what he was going to do, he replied, "Well, I've given it a lot of thought and I've decided I like
what I've been drinkin' so much better than what I've been hearin', I'm just gonna keep on gettin' deaf."  (2)


“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”


Good news.  The Greek word for the gospel and the good news is euaggelion (euangelion).  It comes from a combination of the adverb eu:  well, good, happily, rightly — and angelias:   a message, doctrine, or precept delivered n the name of someone.  Angelias comes from angelos:  one sent, a messenger, an angel; the verb form is angello:  to tell, to announce. 


Both Matthew (11.5) and Luke (4.18; 7.22) speak of Jesus preaching the gospel, the good news, to the poor.  Interesting, isn’t it, that it’s only to the poor that the good news is preached in New Testament times.  It could be that some once not so poor people in the worlds of industry, finance, and banking might have come to understand what that means in an altogether new and unfamiliar, even uncomfortable, way.


In our contemporary times, for example, there has been increasing talk of guardian angels, presumably defending us from, or warding off the effects of any bad news, and announcing good news to us.  I rather imagine that our guardian angels have been overworked in our life times for any number of reasons.


But it all depends on what we mean by good news.  There is first of all the real Good News, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The news of the sweet Lord who loved us so much that he died for us.  No economic or fiscal crisis, no wars or rumors of wars, no false prophets of whatever ilk or description can ever take that away from us.  On this good news we rest our souls’ sakes for all time and eternity.  The real good news is the bedrock that saves us from despair, the foundation of our being, the hope that never fails us.

            And there is still other good news.   Temporal good news that endures despite whatever crisis besets us.  We can still hear encouraging words from friends.  We can see numerous acts of generosity and kindness.  And we can still spot signs all around us of love and hope.  


Sometimes we may have to look a little more closely, but the real Good News and the ordinary good news are both still there.  (3)







1.  Reuters, Jan. 14, 1999, as reported in Steve Goodier, Finding the Good News, 23 February 2008,

2.  adapted from Steve Goodier, Finding the Good News, 23 February 2008,

3.  Ibid.


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