for years i have sent out a weekly challenging Christ-following email message called ‘Thort for the Week’ which you can sign up for by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and asking to be added to TFTW… but this week’s one i really felt i should share here as well…
In Isaiah 52 the prophet says, ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” [verse 7]
I feel like that might be one of the verses we easily dismiss because we have heard it so often. But let’s take a closer look.
When i read that verse this morning i was immediately reminded of that line, ‘Preach the Gospel. If necessary use words’ which has been credited as having been said by a whole variety of different people and so it is hard to find out where it originated, which is not all that important.
It feels like a historical Tweet from ancient times: Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words. And it has certainly been ‘retweeted’ through the ages.
The problem with it is that people have used it as an excuse where they say, ‘My life will show the Gospel so much that i don’t have to speak about Jesus!’ [the chilling Truth is so often that the people that use it for that excuse have lives that come nowhere near displaying that message and they, maybe more than most, need to be speaking about Jesus as well]. It generally always has to be a combination between speaking the message and living the message. The speaking of it gives clarification and explanation of why we live the way we do.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news…
What grabbed my attention from my reading of this verse today was the idea of feet bringing news. Surely it’s mouths that bring news in terms of preaching or proclamation or declaration or even a gentle whisper or conversation between friends. Or else it’s hands that bring news through a message or a scribbled note, a newspaper or a pamphlet or book.
‘The feet’ signifies an action. A journey. Going. Doing.
Not just sending a message, but delivering it.
Not just writing the good news down, but embodying it.
Here are some quotes that I got off of the actual Twitter’er this week:
‘Don’t just tweet, preach from pulpits or rant from soapboxes. Love your neighbors. Be peacemakers. Engage the culture. Live out the Gospel’. [Eugene Cho]
‘The litmus test of our love for God is our love for our neighbor.’ [Brennan Manning]
‘Let us not forget: if we are to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, our lives must bear witness to what we preach.’ [Pope Francis]
‘who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”‘
This part sounds like just a spoken piece, but i think you need to hold it alongside the life and teachings of Jesus to realise that it is all about being lived out Truth.
We ‘proclaim peace’ by our lives – the way we promote peace and reconciliation, forgiveness and grace, restoration and rehabilitation.
We ‘bring good tidings’ when we choose to actively get involved in acts of social justice, of not just teaching people how to fish, but also getting involved in the process of removing barriers and red tape and systems that prevent them from being able to fish [in the same rivers and ponds that we can]
We ‘proclaim salvation’ when we move away from the idea that being a Christian means that we are saved for heaven one day when we day and to the Truth that we are saved to be part of bringing about God’s kingdom ‘here on earth as it is in heaven’ [as well as one day getting to spend the rest of eternity with Jesus however that looks] – but part of that is living well here which also means looking after the world God has given us and sharing the message of Jesus both by our lives and our words to anyone who will listen.
We ‘say to Zion, “Your God reigns!’ when we start to demonstrate the same God that we say we believe in by living lives that have been completely transformed by the good news we preach. when we move away from looking like everyone else in the world [and sadly too often in the church as well - paying lip service instead of life service] and living lives that point to the redeeming work of our Saviour.
And finally a quote, from the late Brennan Manning, which i think sums up one of the chief flaws within those who claim to be Christian [but are not so much Christ following in the way they speak or live our their lives] and also among a bunch of the people who we might put on pedestals as we are challenged by their books or inspired by their tweets:
‘The temptation of the age is to look good without being good.’ [Brennan Manning]
We have a powerful message that needs to be spoken. But it also HAS to be lived out in every area of our lives on a daily basis. Not perfectly perhaps because we are still all in the process of being made more Christlike. But in intention and priority and action, who we say we are has to start resembling more and more who we actually are.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” [verse 7]