“There are a million ways to proclaim the good news, and we sell God short when we forget that when we try to force ourselves into a narrow mold or fall silent because we cannot. Every now and then we may be called upon to stand up in some public place and give account for the hope that is in us, but nine times out of ten our evangelism will be the quiet kind: reading psalms to a sick friend, telling the truth to someone who has asked for it, ending a quarrel with words of forgiveness, writing a note that restores hope, listening to an old woman’s story, laughing at a young boy’s joke, inviting a stranger to come in—those are all proclamations of the good news, and if we are ever stuck for ideas we can remember all the ways good news has come to us, all the ways the medicine of the gospel has brought about our own healing.”
Barbara Brown Taylor, Gospel Medicine, p.7
This week, I have been meditating on this quotation. I am especially drawn to the last sentence, “if we are ever stuck for ideas we can remember all the ways good news has come to us, all the ways the medicine of the gospel has brought about our own healing.”
What are the ways that the gospel has brought about my own healing? I tend to be wary about what some Christians proclaim about God as good news without making space for real questions, doubts, suffering, or injustice. It is hard for me to get on board with overarching claims about God, such as “God is good all the time! God provides our every need! God is a healer!” It’s not that I don’t think there is truth in those statements.
But I am concerned about how these statements can silence people’s pain when they are passing through seasons of life where such claims can feel hollow or alienating.
But I also realize that I don’t always give attention to all the ways that the gospel has brought about my own healing. I don’t always take the time to stay present to the good news because my mind tends to say, “Well, that’s nice for me, but what about others who can’t experience this goodness? Am I just exercising gratitude in my own little universe of privilege?” In my desire to be mindful of how good news for me does not always translate in good news for others, I tend to fall silent and feel a little guilty about savoring the ways in which the medicine of the gospel has brought about my own healing.
But I felt like God was reminding me this week that I can still appreciate all the ways in which the good news comes to me and not lose my perspective on the people and places that desperately need more of the good news. So I took some time this week to reflect on the good news that contributed to my own healing this week.
1. Watching DCC’s older adults organizing at the speed of light to deliver supplies to a food-insecure community. I felt like they had more energy than I did! Their quiet but faithful and active compassion was inspiring.
2. Hearing that the very low-income residents who received the supplies gave $250 back to DCC including one woman’s tithe, moved me to tears and made me think about the ways I want to give.
3. Witnessing members’ deep dedication in ministry meetings humbled me as a pastor and confirmed that the body of Christ is in action if we cannot see each other in person.
4. Seeing the attention and care that members put into their bikes before delivering them for us to use touched me deeply. Getting my first bike in my late thirties was a wonderful, childlike experience. Then opening cards, emails of encouragement, finding flowers outside my door, and encountering kindness from colleagues. These all felt like God saying, “I know what you need. I love to see your heart glad.”
So much of the good news that I listed came to me from the body of Christ. I pray that I may take the time to remember and treasure all the ways the medicine of the gospel continues to heal and strengthen me.
May the medicine of the gospel find you wherever you are.
May the Lord fill your heart with gladness, console you in sadness, heal what ails you, and bring forgiveness and peace.
And may God give us the grace and power to share this medicine for the healing and flourishing of all.