Winn Collier 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. Winn’s local city newspaper is The Daily Progress. Here is Winn Collier on the Good News.
THE GOOD NEWS
Recently, in conversation over tea with local activists who carry some skepticism of the church, one new friend asked me his burning question: “how do you deal with evil, war and violence?”
Last Easter season, on a morning ride to his kindergarten, my son Wyatt asked, “Dad, when God raises us from the dead, are we going to be really alive? Or just alive in our head?”
Three years ago, in the dark hours, I sat on a cold couch, facing the suffocating night while my family slept. In tears and anger, I assaulted heaven, “Will this ever end? What is wrong with me?”
Kathleen Norris says that “[t]he discipline of poetry teaches poets, at least, that they often have to say things they can’t pretend to understand.” That’s how I feel amid this conversation around Jesus’ good news. However, these three experiences with their accompanying questions move me toward the center of what I mean whenever I say that Jesus is the good news.
Most of us are aware of an ache, a sorrowful wondering if our world will ever be right. We know deep in our bones that something has gone wildly amiss. We know that the injustices and loneliness and social fractures rife in our world are evils we ought rail against. We might not all believe hell is a place where bad people perish, but I’ve yet to meet a person who disagrees that we encounter bits of hell in Darfur’s refugee camps, in terror and the wars terror spawns, in urban centers where young girls peddle their bodies on the streets.
And we know, somehow we simply know, it was not meant to be this way. But why do we know? My hunch is that we have this primal intuition because our story carries echoes of the good news. Might it be true that we were created for Eden? Might it be true that we gasp at beauty and are furious at evil because we were made for beauty, not evil? Perhaps Jesus’ story (God became human, died as a scandalous act of love and then walked out of his tomb as signal of God’s intention to resurrect everything death has ruined) tells us what our heart already knows: we are people of life, not death.
Perhaps Jesus’ story, rather than offering a Pollyanish fairytale, narrates why the world I experience collides so cruelly with the world I long for. For me, Jesus’ good news provides the one hope that I haven’t gone utterly mad.
A people of life, not death: this we know. And here we encounter the jaw-dropping good news. Death might be everywhere, but death does not have the final word. Jesus has come, and death (of every sort) will one day be emphatically undone. And life will dance free in the streets. As Frederick Buechner said, “What’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.”
|Winn Collier is husband to Miska, a spiritual director, and dad to Wyatt and Seth, who were dangerous boys even before the book came out. Winn is a writer, working as a columnist and authoring three books: Restless Faith, Let God: The Transforming Wisdom of Francois Fenelon and most recently, Holy Curiosity: Encountering Jesus’ Provocative Questions. Winn and his family make their home in Charlottesville, Virginia where they serve their spiritual community, All Souls Charlottesville. You may connect with Winn @ winncollier.com.|