Which do you want first?
I'm not normally one to feel down or despondent. I'm a pretty chirpy little Rector, most of the time but the news has been depressing. Austerity, calamities and disasters, at home and abroad, along with global uncertainty and provocative outspokenness - from people who should know better. Despite the sunshine of recent days, and even though everything in my own garden is rosy, it's difficult not to feel that just over the proverbial garden wall, all is not weell.
Bad news hangs around like a bad smell that you can't quite eliminate.
So, I've been on the quest to find good news. And I have. I have read that the MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and his wife have just called their sixth child Sixtus! Sixtus! Mr and Mrs R-M may well see this as being good news, but I rather suspect that in a few short years, R-M Junior may well think otherwise. I also understand that Mr R-M would like 12 children, although Mrs R-M has been surprisingly silent on the matter.
There was good news from a couple in Cumbria who lost their two dogs for five days. Despite several days of extensive searching, the dogs could not be found. Their owners decided to try one final thing to find them, and cooked some sausages on the very spot where they had last been seen. Moments later, as if by magic, the smell of sausages flushed the dogs out. 'I could not believe it was them!' the owner was reported as saying. 'They absolutely love sausages. They have them every Sunday for breakfast.'
In addition to all that good news, I have had a bit of good news myself. (Please see Page 10 of the magazine for details)
Apart from being jolly chuffed and extremely happy, I have been overwhelmed by the love, joy and support I have received from so many people. We have been sent dozens of cards, received loads of messages, stopped in the street, hugged and kissed and I have even been mistaken for the Bishop! It seems as if good news travels as fast and brings with it a 'feel-good factor' and a joy, which is quite infectious and contagious, as well as being deeply humbling.
And in light of all that, it seems strange and slightly puzzling to me that the good news of Jesus is not greeted with the same universal enthusiasm and happiness. Falling in love and getting married may be fantastic news to me (and hopefully to Robert!), but it is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared with the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the best news in the world, and needs to be celebrated and enjoyed, especially when there is so much bad news out there.