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Sharing the Bad News
and the "Empty" Promise

Pr. Jaynan Clark

April 20, 2011

Photo of Pastor Clark

Pr. Jaynan Clark

It must be in our DNA. .. .that natural inclination to want to be the one who knows “the latest” and therefore has every ear inclined as you begin to share. Why do we, by nature, seem so eager to share the bad news? Why is there some kind of a rush that comes with being in the know and therefore able to be the bearer of that bad news? I know people who have police scanners in their homes for this reason. They want to be the first to know and therefore the one in the know; the one that others come to for their information.

Every time the pager goes off and my firefighting/EMT son races out the door and down the driveway I know that the mouths will start to wag about the accident or the attack or the arson. Everyone will want to know what is happening as they drive by and see the lights, hear the sirens and rubber neck in order to get information to pass on. Some will leave their homes and detour from their route in order to get closer to the action.

The most sad, tragic, and horrifying we bear as bad news and pass it forward as the crowds gather around with strained necks and bended ear to get the goods. Often times the story gets worse rather than better as it continues from one telling to another. My thought is that this is not an element of our human nature but a mark of our fallen, sinful condition. For whatever reason, we go out of our way to know of our neighbor’s misfortune and pass it on. We may forget to pass on that someone is engaged or just was baptized or was healed but we remembered to tell others about the divorce, the accident, the illness, the arrest.

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and therefore our good Lord has only the likes of us to get His work done. He has only our untamable tongues to tell His story. What to do?

Perhaps on this most Holy of weeks we should pause and in prayer ask of the betrayed, despised, rejected and crucified One how He might use this, our propensity to pass on the bad news. How might it well serve Him that we secretly want to be the center of the attention as folks strain to hear what bad thing has happened and get the goods from us as the one who knows?

It may come to pass in and through this prayer that He will commission you to pass on the truly tragic, senseless, dark, bloody truth of this most Holy Week. Hear Him ask you to recount His victorious ride into the Holy City where within days He went down to the whispers set in place by the chief priests and elders in order to have the mob feverishly demand His death and do their dirty work. He calls today to you and asks, “Do you really want a story to tell that will top all the bad news out there on the street?” Tell what happens to the divine when sinners get their hands on Him. Tell how the Son came to dwell among us as one of us and we killed Him. Go tell it on the street . . . be the first to know and the one to deliver the goods in all its gore and glory.

The passion pager is sounding ... time to hit the road with the bad news of this most Holy Week ... bad news for Jesus; good news for you. Then make sure you also pass on God’s "empty" promise to boot! For the Easter story is just one big "empty" promise!

Yes, the tomb is "empty" and if it is not we are the most to be pitied according to Paul. But the only pity this week will be if so many lost and "empty" people leaning forward and straining to hear the bad news—don’t.

They are literally dying to be told an "empty" promise from the Lord Himself. You are the one in the know ... It is yours to tell!