Jon Tyson 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. Jon’s local newspaper is The New York Times. Here is Jon Tyson on the Good News.
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news could not be more simple, “Behold, Jesus is making everything new.” How this is applied in my context could not be more complex.
I live in New York City, which is more than a city. It’s a conglomeration of hundreds of cities. This means the good news means different things to different kinds of people.
To the successful privileged elite, the good news means you are not valued for your performance, education, skills, achievements and position. There is nothing you can do to impress God. His righteousness is a gift. You are no better off in the sight of God than the lazy, uneducated bum who could care less about affluence, education or status. You don’t have to prove yourself, and you are not loved for what you have done.
To the poor and marginalized, you are not excluded from the favor of God because you lack education, affluence, and power. You not forgotten, you are loved where you are. In fact your lowly position may even be an advantage to you as you hunger for the grace that God offers. You are not unloved for what you have not done.
To the immigrant, the good news is that you are welcomed into the family of God. We are all strangers and aliens, but the dividing wall of hostility has been torn down and we can be a new community together. You cannot earn your way in, and your differences do not push you out. We can be one in Christ and you can find your new home in him.
To the secular humanist, the good news is that your atheism does not eliminate the reality of God. The claims of the creator and the call of the savior are still for you, even in your unbelief. The secular well is empty, and when your thirst persists, Jesus will let you drink freely from of the water of life.
To the struggling artist, the good news is that your creativity matters, and God wants to redeem it rather than reduce it. God views humanity as the ultimate canvas, and the work of transformation as a stunning installation into the human story.
To the disillusioned religious person, the good news is that the gospel is not a formula but a person. Jesus also challenged the disappointing intuitions you challenge, and the angst and resistance in your heart is a very good sign of life. Jesus was the master of deconstruction, and wants to tear away the deadness and replace it with life.
To the hedonist, the good news is that your search for pleasure is not wrong, but misguided. You may not be taking your hedonism seriously enough. In his presence is fullness of joy. God wants to fulfill your pleasure, not frustrate it. The good news is that Christ has come so that your joy may be FULL.
And lastly, to the hipster, the good news is that God loves you anyway, tight black jeans, trust fund and all.
The good news is for the whole city in thousands of different ways. For God’s story of creation, fall, redemption and renewal makes its way to every pocket and people group that compose this city.
This good news is holistic, meaning it’s for now, not just for later. This means that everything is being made new: personal lives, communities in conflict, institutions and systems, and even the earth itself.
And the good news is for urbanites themselves, as the New Jerusalem is a city, coming out of heaven, adorned as a bride prepared for her husband.
The good news for New York is that God wants to make us a literal city on a hill, in anticipation and longing for the eternal city whose builder and foundations are God.
|Jon Tyson is the pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York City, a community of neighborhood churches committed to joining God in the renewal of all things. He serves with The Origins Movement, a network of urban churches seeking to reclaim, redeem, and renew the world’s global cities. He is also the founder of City Collective a non-profit in New York seeking to cultivate the good true and beautiful across the city. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, he lives in Washington Heights with his wife and children and can often be found riding his Vespa round the city, and reveling in the gifts of jazz and espresso.|