Ryan Bell 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. Ryan’s local newspaper is the Los Angeles Times. Here is Ryan Bell on the Good News.
THE GOOD NEWS
My friends John and Aileen serve breakfast to about 150 hungry people on a relatively quiet sidewalk in Hollywood. They do this every weekday. They naturally have help from friends in the neighborhood. The only way you can distinguish the volunteers from those being “helped” is by the rubber gloves worn by the volunteers. I, too, look like I’ve just rolled out of bed. Some of those in line look more prepared for a job interview than I do. That’s probably where a couple of them are headed next after they finished their turkey sandwich, fresh strawberries and yogurt.
To me, John and Aileen embody the good news. They are not members of my church, or any church that I know of. But they understand the good news. They might express it differently than I do, though they are not put off by the words I sometimes use. On the surface what happens every day on this sidewalk is a simple transaction. A long line of people, many of whom are homeless, are receiving breakfast. Presumably, the people who are serving have more to give than those who are in the line receiving. But John and Aileen don’t think so. As we’ve talked over the past couple of years I’ve known them, they understand that love is a universal human need and the truly healing gift we give each other (by the way, the call their little operation, Gett Love). They know that to look a person in the eyes, call them by their name, touch them in an uplifting way and listen to them is the one thing so many of us never receive.
We’re going to breakfast with this motley crew of volunteers on Friday. As I was accepting their invitation this morning the words of Jesus of Nazareth came to mind, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ’Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that personâ€¦. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide” (Luke 10:5-7).
In the Christian tradition the good news is an announcement – news! – that a new world is possible and even how breaking into the world, right in the midst of the old order. This new world advances, not by power or violence, coercion or manipulation, but by love, sacrifice and hospitality. The good news is not an object or a commodity, but an event; good news happens everywhere people reach out to another human being in love.
Today the good news is announced to me as God’s Spirit invites me to eat and drink what John and Aileen are serving.
|Ryan Bell lives with his wife, Elysabeth, and their two girls (Zoe, 8 and Sophie, 6), in Hollywood, California, where they have been making their home since 2005. Ryan is the pastor of the Hollywood Adventist Church. Together, with his family and congregation he is learning what it means to discover the “good news” of God’s life as it emerges on the streets of the city, in people’s every day lives. Ryan blogs at Intersections and is regular contributor at the Spectrum Blog.|