Peter re-wrote the headlines of his day. Hauled up before the court to explain his actions, “Fisherman charged with public affray” became “Jesus Saves!”
There are a lot of scary headlines around theses days – pandemic, riots, climate disaster. Everything is depressing. Everything is bad news. Everything makes us want to crawl back under the bedclothes and it feels like we’ve been like this since … forever!
But what if we challenged those headlines?
What if we made new headlines, about what we think is important?
What if we noticed the Good News, instead of just the bad?
When I was a kid, one of the major channels always ended their main news broadcast with good news. After the crimes, scandals and disasters it was nice to know that some charity had saved an ancient woodland, or that elderly centenarians celebrated their wedding anniversary with 5 generations of family, or that a rescued three-legged llama, adopted by a school, had been named Wooly McWoolface – a heart-warming, nice-to-go-to-bed-with kind of story. I wish we could do more of that, because, in reality, the world isn’t all doom, gloom and catastrophe – that’s just what sells papers. (Or if that dates me, generates clicks and ‘likes’.)
Of course, Christians are not called to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that everything in the world is fine, but we can challenge the cultural norm of only ever noticing things when they are bad. ‘Count your blessings’ may be old-fashioned advice, but its still good advice.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental well-being, and one thing we can all do to redress the balance of bad-news media is to be more aware of the good things we often miss. This can have huge benefits, and is a great way to recognise and thank God for his goodness. There are plenty of psalms that have this theme. ‘Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.’ (Ps 103)
This is not ignoring reality – this is becoming aware of the reality we don’t always notice.
Forget news-worthy, let’s make Good News the ‘new worthy’!
So let’s make our own headlines. What do you think is important?
Take a sheet of paper and follow the instructions below to make your own mini-newspaper, then fill it with the stuff that really matters.
- Fold your paper in half lengthways,
- then widthways,
- then fold the ends to the middle, so that your paper is divided into 8 small rectangles.
- Now cut a slit along the middle, the line that does not touch any edges. It’s easiest if you fold the paper along the shorter middle crease.
- Fold along the long crease and push the ends together so that the middle bulges out.
- Flatten the pages to make your book.
- Now write ‘Good News’ on the cover, and fill the insides with the blessings you see around.
The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.
This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”