Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Len Hjalmarson on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

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.  Len’s local city newspaper is the Kelowna Capital News. Here is Len Hjalmarson on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS
When Jesus arrived on the scene in first century Palestine, he appeared announcing the “good news of God’s kingdom.”

He didn’t arrive in a vacuum. There was already a version of the “good news” on the street. It said that Caesar would provide peace and prosperity. You didn’t have to be a prophet to look around Israel and ask, “At what cost?” With Roman soldiers keeping everyone in line, it was a kind of peace.. but without any justice or compassion.

The conflict between these two versions of good news.. the Empire’s version and the Jesus version.. eventually saw Jesus hanging on a Roman cross.

Since then many kingdoms have come and gone. Caesar still claims that he can bring peace and prosperity, and we see the result.

So we pray, “Lord, Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” And we see the loving rule of God breaking into our world in a hundred ways. We see a homeless woman find shelter. We see a man kick his addictions and leave the street behind. We see a businessman who has been treating his employees badly begin to treat them as people of inestimable worth because they are made in the image of God.

I used to think that there were two kinds of people in our world: the secure, and the insecure. Some of us have houses and land – we would be “the secure.” Others wonder where we’ll sleep tonight – we would be “the insecure.”

But the world isn’t divided between the rich and secure — and the poor and insecure.
It’s divided between two houses: the house of fear, and the house of love.

The world is divided between a restless, anxious, fearful place, and a place of peace.

  • Will my job still be there tomorrow?  Will my husband or wife still care for me?
  • Will my children turn out ok?  Will the interest rates rise?
  • Will I have enough for retirement?  Will my friends take care of me?

Without realizing it, we become anxious, nervous people, caught in the questions of survival. And the world feeds our additions. The world says, “You need this car, that home, that job, that beautiful man or woman – then you will be happy.”

But Jesus says, “Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.” He invites us to, “take no thought for tomorrow.”  He offers us rest. The good news is that Jesus is like the father in the parable of the prodigal son – he waits for us to come home so that he can put the robe on our backs and the ring on our finger. The good news is that we all have a home, and when we discover that we can rest and we can offer rest to others.

In the gospels Jesus says this: “Do not fear. The father delights to give you the kingdom.” Bruce Cockburn sings,

Little round planet in a big Universe
Sometimes it looks blessed, sometimes it looks cursed.
Depends on what you look at obviously..
Even more it depends on the way that you see..

Child of the Wind

Len is a writer, pastor, teacher and software developer living among the orchards and vineyards of Kelowna, BC. He is a regional representative for RESONATE. Len is finishing a DMin in Leadership and Spirituality at ACTS seminaries in Langley, BC. Len is the father of two teen girls, and is married to Betty, an RN who works with women in transition as part of the METRO community in urban Kelowna. Len and Betty also care for a Siamese cat who thinks she is God.


13 Responses to Len Hjalmarson on The Good News

  1. sonja says:

    jr,I look forwards to these posts about the good news. enjoyed this post already.
    Sonja

  2. jrwoodward says:

    Sonja,

    I believe you will find the entries rich in content and meaning. Be sure to interact with them if you have any thoughts or questions for the authors. Peace.

  3. len says:

    Well, I have some questions for this guy. This sounds like social gospel to me. There is no mention of the cross or the resurrection or the atonement. And what about the Holy Spirit? Does this guy read the same bible I read or what? Maybe he is a catholic or a sacramentalist? How can you print this stuff anyway 😉

  4. Jason says:

    Leave it to a Canuck to quote Bruce Cockburn. ; )

    Seriously. Great job in this Len. I was mulling over this series this morning and I thought to myself, “I wonder who will be the first to compare the Roman Empire to the American Empire?”

    Didn’t take long. Thanks for bringing it home.

  5. Ryan says:

    Good one, Len! Don’t you hate it when people agree with or just don’t comment on what you figured was really radical and earth shattering. You just want to shout, “Pay attention, people!” :)

  6. Ali says:

    Great post len….love the idea of a house of fear and love. Great analogy for a great truth. Thanks

  7. Pastor Doug says:

    I think what Len may be frustrated with in this article, may be the same thing I have concluded: That the Kingdom of God is MUCH more than what is presented.

    The question I would ask, is who was this article written for?

    Our American Christianity falls so far short of what God intended (and what the Bible says is available to us)!

    We struggle with fears over things that in reality are so small, while the church and Christians outside the U.S. are dealing with real life and death issues (persecution, martyrdom, etc.)

    The one thing that this viewpoint does lean towards, that I agree with, is that we are answering questions (as the Church) that the world is not asking… and what they really want is the reality of God; not just good theology (which they have NO interest in) or even good works (which they expect the church to do)…

    Inwardly they want to know that God is real. Jesus demonstrated that by healing the sick, casting out demons and loving the sinner. It’s about time that we start doing the same.

  8. Kathy says:

    If more Christians would listen to Bruce Cockburn than (fill in the name of some mass-marketed “worship” band) they would be less likely to become complacent in their understanding of the gospel. And they would never forget how radically social and political the gospel is.

    Hey, Len, Bruce is performing in Pella, Iowa on Friday! Can you believe it? I’ll be there!

  9. len says:

    I was thinking last night.. if I had a choice between Bruce and U2.. I don’t know what I would do. Glad to see he is becoming widely known.

  10. Scott Olson says:

    This is a great introduction to the series… thanks for the insight and thoughts Len.

  11. PJ Tibayan says:

    Len,

    It seems that the effects of the good news are included in the good news. I’m glad you mentioned Jesus and encouraged the reader to find his/her home and rest in Jesus. That’s a great analogy and I find that draws me to Jesus. I just found it lacking the meaning of the cross (though it was mentioned) which seems to be big in the mind of Jesus and Jesus early followers who wrote the New Testament. Did I miss something or am I missing the point?

  12. Liz says:

    So glad you pointed out that the kind of peace that Jesus talks about and offers is very different that the ideas that we, here in America, have about peace. Jesus wasn’t just talking about the absence of war or even the absence of conflict – as you said, Jesus was talking about peace that rose out of love and created a Kingdom where justice and compassion were the guards.

  13. Pingback: The Good News Series « Godspace

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