Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Jamie Arpin-Ricci 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. Jamie’s local newspaper is the Winnipeg Free Press. Here is Jamie Arpin-Ricci on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS

This past Sunday I found myself in a place I could never have imagined possible. I received a call shortly after 11am. It was from Amy, a young woman from our church, informing me that her brother Andrew, a new Christians and recent addition to our community, had climbed seven stories up construction scaffolding and was threatening to jump. Being mere meters away from the site, I was the first civilian on the scene. After a nearly 8 hour stand off, I watched helplessly as Andrew jumped to his death. I did my best to comfort Amy against the waves of shock and grief.

After what seemed an endless wait during the situation, the following hour rushed past us in a blur. I accompanied Amy to the hospital where we were able to see her brotherʼs body, pray together and say goodbye. Before the hour was out, we were back in my home, where most of our church had already gathered to be with Amy. The reality of what had happen would take time to settle in for us all.

We knew Andrew had been battling mental health issues. While his recent embrace of faith in Jesus had a marked impact on him, we knew that he still needed to seek treatment and support from professional care givers. Sadly, he didn’t receive the help in time. In a break that plunged Andrew into fear and paranoia, his jump was not unlike those who jump to escape a burning building.

This is, perhaps, a strange experience to share when considering how I would explain the Good News of Jesus with my city. When someone takes their life in this way, we are faced with endless questions, self-doubt and strong emotions of all kinds. And yet, in the midst of this tragic loss and while never diminishing that loss, we do find glimmers of hope.

We find hope that in a life of loneliness and fear, Andrew found true community with his sister and the church in his last weeks. We find hope in a small community of Christians who literally moved in together to love and support their sisterʼs loss. We find hope that we will see Andrew again, free from suffering and pain – whole as God intended him to be.

And where does this hope come from? From a deep mysterious conviction that God has conquered death and suffering through His Son Jesus, through whom we can find freedom from sin, fullness of life in His Body – the Church – and a promise of eternal life where we will be together with Him and each other forever.

The brokenness and pain that results from this kind of event does not simply disappear in the face of this hope. And yet, knowing Godʼs presence through His Spirit and the comfort of His people gives us the strength to face tomorrow regardless of our circumstances. And that is the Good News.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci is a church planter and missionary pastor with his wife, Kim, in Winnipeg’s inner city community. He is the co-director of YWAM Urban Ministries Winnipeg, co-pastor of Little Flowers Community and a writer/blogger. He is currently in formation to become a Franciscan third order member of The Company of Jesus.


10 Responses to Jamie Arpin-Ricci on The Good News

  1. Thanks for sharing this story Jamie, so close to the time, but it is in knowing that so close to it happening people can still be talking about good news says a lot for the kind of good news it is.

  2. Thanks Nathan. I had written a different piece, but the morning I was going to send it I was too full of the reality of this story. It is a little raw, but felt I had to share it.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  3. John Santic says:

    Jami, Your perspective of brokenness is a valid and necessary paradigm to engage the good news from. the temptation is for TGN to be served up as the latest trendy spirituality to add the the individual agenda, without the cost of engaging suffering and brokenness and clinging to hope. Anything less is really just dancing blindly in our illusions and ignoring the reality of our human condition. Sorry to hear about your friends death.

  4. jrwoodward says:

    Jamie,

    Wow, Jamie, thanks for sharing your story with us. Your entry reminds me of the fact we live in the in-between times, there is ‘good’ FRiday and resurrection Sunday. We often experience the pain and suffering of good Friday, but we know that Sunday is coming, when we can experience the fullness of the resurrection. Thanks for the focus on hope.

  5. Thanks for this sobering story, Jamie.

    JR, thanks for putting this Good News series together – it’s been enriching.

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  7. Liam Byrnes says:

    Thanks for sharing this story Jamie, We were praying for you when I saw your twitter update. I just can’t imagine how hard this must be for SF. Ill continue to pray, and am encouraged by the story of good news amidst grief you have shared.

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