Today’s blog is written by a new – and very welcome! – addition to the staff of our London Office of Christian Science Committees on Publication, Assistant District Manager Clare Harwood.
Oyez, oyez, oyez! It wasn’t always a happy lot for the town crier of old. His role in Medieval England was to make public pronouncements and relay the news headlines of the day, a kind of old-time blogger.
Despite all the bell ringing, flamboyant attire and tricorne hat, if the target audience didn’t like the message, they were often attacked. Present-day bloggers be very grateful! Fast forward a few centuries and a law was passed where assault was considered an act of treason. The advice ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ was taken very seriously!
Today the role of a town crier is mainly one played out for the tourists, although perhaps those venerable folk at the UK meteorological office have resurrected the role by courageously forecasting snow, fog and sleet when really only sun, blue skies and warmth will do… but I digress.
As the first decade of the twenty first century draws to a close, the vast majority of us will have received at least some of our news today by booting up, logging on and tuning in as part of our daily routine. News blasts at us from every quarter with the click of a mouse or a flick of the finger.
We tune in….. but to what? Too much information or not enough? Misleading or factual? Educational or sensational? Well-written editorials or ill-researched articles? I could go on. Either way we need to filter out the erroneous in order to be able to discern and assimilate the true. How can we achieve this?
In the Bible there are many stories of deliverance from situations that appeared impossible from a purely human perspective. The parting of the Red Sea, Daniel in the lion’s den and David’s triumph over Goliath are but a few of the potential bad news stories that ended up in the good news section. And then there was the crucifixion of Jesus, which wasn’t looking too good for a while!
In each case some pretty overwhelming odds were met and overcome by these individuals. They countered the bad news scenario with their confidence in the triumph of good over evil and in each case the outcome affected many others, both directly and indirectly.
What was it about these stories that made them worth recording, translating and broadcasting around the world for thousands of years? They were a testament to something bigger than just a series of news events. They evidence the underlying reality of the presence of God.
In truth, now as then, many amazing things occur around the world every single day as a result of God’s presence in our lives, although they don’t necessarily attract the big headlines.
Among them, Christian Scientists experience physical healings, financial problems sorted, relationship issues worked through and worked out. They like to tell their stories of these healings at Wednesday evening “testimony Meetings”, in weekly and monthly magazines, and via a 24/7 online presence. They are not trying to show off! These accounts, however modest or grand, evidence that underlying reality of a God who loves one and all.
Are we actively open to hearing today’s story of the positive impact of God’s goodness or just choosing to sit it out, or maybe even letting scepticism cause us to distrust any good news – the equivalent of shooting the messenger?
The decisions we take of what we believe today will not only affect our story for the day, but also affect those we come into contact with. When looked at in this way we can see that it is a big deal. The actions we take do make a difference to the bigger picture of our neighbours lives and maybe our prayers can even make some difference to the news stories of the day.
I suspect that we all want to see good magnified in our own lives as well as for those we meet, and those we hear about in the news. Striving to ensure that our ears are open to the ‘good news’ would be a really worthwhile goal.
Give the town crier something truly great to shout about today!
Thanks, Clare! Ever wonder how town crying should be done? Here is a helpful “how to”…!