JR Rozko on The Good News
This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. JR’s local city newspaper as he mentions in his article is The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Here is JR Rozko on the Good News.
THE GOOD NEWS
The Commercial Appeal is the place where countless Memphians turn for news – some of it good, much of it, not so good. We are a city divided by race, stricken by generational poverty, plagued by crime, and disadvantaged by socio-economic stratification. Good news for us usually comes in the form of an absence of bad as opposed to the presence of beautiful surprises. For those with eyes to see, these problems are far more than the result of individual human errors and failings; they also stem from firmly entrenched systems, paradigms, and powers, which create a broken culture that produces broken people. There is a cycle at work here more insidious than we realize or could hope to finally defeat on our own. But there’s good news.
I’m a Christian and Christians are good news people. In fact, a central manta of the Christian faith is, “Repent and believe the good news.” This isn’t about saying you’re sorry to God so you can go to Heaven when you die. It’s Jesus’ invitation to, by grace and through faith, escape the consequences of our capitulation to a world gone wrong by joining him in the ways he sees and engages the world.
See, God plans to recreate all that has been tainted and lost by evil and darkness. The sphere in which this happens is known as the Kingdom of God. Jesus embodied this Kingdom in his life and sealed it in his death and resurrection. That’s news, but it’s not quite good yet; cause news is only really good when it’s experienced. This news becomes truly good for us when God’s plan for the future intersects with our present. Ours is not good news that God will do, but good news that God is doing.
Jesus was the bearer of good news par excellence and those of us who bear his name but fail to similarly bear good news to the world around us have a share in the guilt and misery of the city and people we are called to lovingly serve. This is where the Church comes in. God means for the Church to be a unique body though whom Jesus actually continues freeing people from harmful things and reconnecting them with God and others. The Christian God is one of relationship. Therefore, God’s Good News to the people and city of Memphis is purposefully intertwined with communities of people gripped by it.
Fellow Memphians, if you’re like me, grieved over the many sad circumstances of our city, if you are desperate for a new start, for healing and wholeness, I hope you will consider the news of God’s desire and plan for the world including the tiny metroplex of Memphis. The news might not be the sort you’d expect, maybe not even the sort you’d prefer, but it’s good in the truest meaning of the word.
|JR Rozko, a graduate of Malone University and Fuller Theological Seminary, currently serves as a pastor to young adults at Living Hope. A former academic advisor for Fuller’s Master of Arts in Global Leadership program, JR also enjoys serving as an occasional TA and adjunct instructor. JR is on the cusp of a brand new adventure, highlighted by a move to Chicago from Memphis and getting married to the girl of his dreams!|