Hope-Filled News!

Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,” and then
reported what he had told her.

John 20:18

Good news is hard to keep to oneself, especially when the information will be helpful to others. We share a good book and diet tips that really work. We tell our colleagues about inroads we’ve made with the new payroll technology or the new boss. We cannot keep the news of a long-awaited pregnancy or a cancer remission to ourselves for longer than it takes to scroll down to a number on our cell phones. Still, it seems that good news is a far too limited commodity in this Twenty-first Century world of ours.

The truth is that since we humans decided that our own agendas were our top priorities, good news has been in short supply. Still, at least some of us have also held onto our hope for better things to come. Jesus’ arrival in Bethlehem certainly offered a glimpse of hope. When Jesus lived a life of acceptance, mercy and all-encompassing love, hope took on new life. When he made it up the hill to Calvary, Jesus persisted until he embraced death. A few days later, the rumbling in the tomb sealed the deal. Jesus himself became hope-fulfilled. Good news took on a whole new meaning –forever!

Dear God, painful as his passion and dying were, Jesus persisted because of the great good which would result. Help me to persist in doing the right thing as well, even when it’s painful.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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God’s Greenery

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.

From Psalm 118:1-2

It is Arbor Day, a very special day for my husband who sports a truly capable green thumb. Mike takes an immediate liking to all plants great and small. Today, I must share Mike’s decades-long relationships with two plants. The first is a colorful, purplish-green Tradescantia Zebrina. His parents gave it to us as a housewarming gift when we purchased our first home. The plant is older than our sons! The second is a Philodendron which my husband’s teachers gave to him in 1987 when he was named a “candidate” for the diaconate. This designation meant that he would indeed be ordained the following year. Mike’s staff realized it had taken a good deal of effort for their principal to get to that point and they wanted to cheer him on. Needless to say, both plants are precious to him.

Most amazing is that these plants have survived outdoor transitions from spring through summer to fall when frost came unexpectedly early. The plants have also survived floods and dry spells when we were away and our designated plant-caregivers were either overly zealous or stingy with their task. After each incident, my husband painstakingly nursed his beloved greenery back to health for another season.

On this Arbor Day, it occurs to me that Mike’s plant adventures are a living parable regarding God’s ongoing and merciful care of each one of us. Like my husband’s plants, we could not be in better hands!

Gracious God, thank you for caring for us and for all of creation with such love and such mercy.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Persist In Doing Good

Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,” and then
reported what he had told her.

John 20:18

Good news is hard to keep to oneself, especially when the information will be helpful to others. We share a good book and diet tips that really work. We tell our colleagues about inroads we have made with the new payroll technology or the new boss. We cannot keep the news of a long-awaited pregnancy or a cancer remission to ourselves for longer than it takes to scroll down to a number on our cell phones. It seems that good news is a far too limited commodity in this Twenty-first Century world of ours.

The truth is that since humankind first rejected God’s ways, good news has been in short supply. The prophets laid the foundation before Jesus arrived in Bethlehem to offer glimpses of true hope. When Jesus made it up the hill to Calvary, hope took on new life. When Jesus embraced death, he presented hope-fulfilled to the world. A few days later, the rumbling in the tomb sealed the deal. Good news took on a whole new meaning –forever!

Dear God, painful as his passion and dying were, Jesus persisted because of the great good which would result. Help me to persist in doing the right thing as well, even when it is painful.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved