Good News/Bad News

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

I wonder if you are a glass half-full or a glass half-empty person?

One thing is certain, the world needs more of the former.

The reason I begin by asking such a question is because, each time I listen to news bulletins, it appears that those responsible for conducting interviews seem determined to make every piece of bad news into worse news.

Each day we have a constant supply of distressing news items laid before us. Most recently we have heard about the tragic accident at the Shoreham Air Show in West Sussex and, at almost the same time, the attempt by a jihadi gunman to shoot down all the passengers on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

These are only two incidents that have served to increase my irritation with the unrelenting way in which reporters feel the need to heap burning coals on situations which are already horrible.

I do not wish, in any way to listen the tragic deaths of those who were suddenly and cruelly taken from us in the air show disaster – but all the reporters seem able to concentrate on is the fact that there may still be further bodies to be found.

Whilst acknowledging this terrible situation, no-one, it seems, has thought of the number of lives which were saved because the vintage jet missed the airfield itself where many hundreds of people were gathered.

Similarly, with the terrorist on the Paris train, all we hear of are the gory details of the blood which was shed – rather than the fact that many lives were saved because of the bravery and quick thinking of a small band of holiday travellers.

Why, oh why, I wonder, is the world obsessed with bad news?

Each day, and in every community – including our own – there is so much to celebrate because of the kindness and thoughtfulness of many folk and the heroism of others, and yet none of this is reported.

Sometimes, even in our prayers in church, we concentrate so much on people in need and situations of distress that we lose sight of a great deal of good news. Of course we are called upon, as caring Christians, to hold all need and upset before God – but let us not forget to give thanks for all that is good in our lives and in the world.

The very kernel of our faith is based on the fact that the tragic happenings of Good Friday were surpassed by the victory of Easter Day and so, as Christians, Good News is – or should be – at the heart of our thinking, our speaking and our doing.

Each time I tune into a news bulletin I am determined – however challenging it may be – to look for a positive slant on what I hear. Perhaps you might like to do the same: glasses do not need to be always half empty….

As the writer of Psalm 103 declares:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits.

With every blessing,
Paul

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