Friday, June 24, 2011

Old News . . . Good News - Black

When I first began writing a column for a small town newspaper in 1996 it was on an alternating basis with a ministerial colleague. After about three years he moved away and I soon began providing a weekly article. I could not have dreamed I’d still be doing that in 2011—more than a year after leaving that community myself.

The column is inspirationally oriented and called P-Pep! There is a readership. Well, OK, so my guess is that the reading demographic of my efforts is probably from about 50 to 100 years of age, with a sprinkling of younger folk. So, “What’s wrong with that?” One might ask. Nothing. Nothing at all. I’m entirely comfortable with my loyal P-Peppers! In fact, I heard from one recently.

Several weeks ago I received a letter card through the mail, which was forwarded to me by my pastoral successor. It was dated June 5, 2010. That was several days after my wife and I farewelled from our church and community on my retirement from fulltime pastoral ministry.

Other communications had been forwarded to us over time since we left, but it’s a mystery why this one had taken more than a year to come. Had it been stuck in a corner of a post box or bag before coming to light? Whatever. In any case, this was a most welcome thing. What a lovely encouragement. Here’s an excerpt:

“. . . May I wish you sincere congratulations in your retirement. We have met several times during the past fourteen years. I know you are moving soon and leaving the community . . . I wish you both continued health and happiness in your retirement. Best regards . . . Always a friend . . .” and she signed it with her name. “Always a friend.” I like that. I had no idea that this lady, a senior member of another congregation in the town, felt that way.

She came to the farewell open house our congregation provided, and was among a number of regular P-Pep! readers who expressed their hope that I would continue writing the column—and so far, I have. And then her lovely letter arrived—belated. (Hey, that rhymes with elated!)
I took that as a confirmation.

As a writer whose life has been touched and taught by the grace of God, and who is in some sense transformed by grace, I write out of that experience, since my worldview is in part shaped by it. What I write, while hopefully practical and down-to-earth, may at times have an otherworldly dimension to it. It bears elements of the gospel—the good news of Jesus Christ—and represents the old, old story which is ever new.

Whenever the story of God’s love demonstrated in Jesus comes alive in a person’s spiritual core, it really is good news, and works like medicine to bring healing and wholeness.

It’s true: old news really can be good news!

© Peter A. Black.
Black is the weekly inspirational columnist at The Watford Guide-Advocate,
and the author of “Parables from the Pond” (Word Alive Press; ISBN 1897373-21-X).


Kathleen Gibson said...

What a neat story, Peter! We too have had mail show up months after it should have--just in time.

Thanks for the reminder that even old news is good news. So glad you're still writing the words God blows into you. Me too.

Peter Black said...

Thank you Kathleen!

Your "Me too" reminds me that we are co-workers with Christ, serving concurrently with many others in our respective corners of His vineyard, using words to sow and water seeds of faith and hope through His love and grace.
(Hmm. Bit of a 'sentenceful', but true! :) )

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