By Michael J. Brooks
Anne Murray remains among my favorite musicians (and I trust she celebrated a happy 75th birthday last week). Her first song I remember is “Snowbird” when I was in college. Then she recorded one of the most beautiful duets ever with Glen Campbell in 1971: “I Say A Little Prayer” and “By The Time I Get to Phoenix.” But I remember her most for “A Little Good News.” This song tells about “the fighting in Lebanon” and “somebody takes a hostage, somebody steals a plane.” The tag line is “Sure could use / a little good news / today.” Murray’s song was number one on the charts for 20 weeks.
Though this song was recorded in 1983, the refrain is as appropriate in 2020 as it was so long ago.
So much of what we hear today is bad news. The COVID-19 virus sent our nation reeling economically. The strong economy and low unemployment we had at the beginning of the year is now radically changed. We all know those who’ve lost jobs and others whose hours or salaries have been cut.
The COVID-19 virus sent our nation reeling socially. We’ve been locked away from friends and family for three months.
Churches are busy writing guidelines to keep our people safe while moving forward in regathering plans. It’s understandable that those most “at-risk” are reluctant to congregate at this point, but we also fear the effects of long-term enforced smaller-occupancy and the restriction of ministries in our communities. Ministers used to spend many hours each week in hospitals, retirement facilities and home visits, but the virus contagion has stopped this for now. And though most of us have found ways to broadcast worship online, we miss the human touch.
I joked to our congregation lately that the biblical word for fellowship, “koinonia,” now means “six feet apart.” But we laugh so we won’t cry.
Then an untimely and unnecessary death in Minneapolis created a widespread reaction—some of it bringing healthy discussion, and some of it bringing terrible violence and destruction. How we long for voices like Dr. King’s when he dreamt all men will “sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
Someone suggested one of the greatest words in the Bible is, “and it came to pass.” Though probably not intended as a guiding principle for life, this phrase is nonetheless true. Nothing lasts forever. We hope the next few months will bring relief and COVID-19 will simply be a bad memory. And we hope men and women of goodwill, inspired by God, can find common ground in making our nation better for our children and grandchildren.
This is the good news we sure could use today.
Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster, Ala. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.