During this past Christmas season, I did a lot of listening to Isaiah. He is the prophet who reminded us that Immanuel (God with us) was coming. Like most prophets he knows the news better than most. I am observing something that might be related, people getting depressed or staying angry because they are obsessed with the news and a particular slant of the news. I have heard this from people who are hooked on Fox and who are hooked on MSNBC. Every day the news is something like “your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water”. (Isaiah1:22) But Isaiah will not drown in the news. Every few chapters he transcends the news, breaks into poetry, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares”. (Isaiah 2:4)
I remember an old homeless guy who was at a news and magazine shop. He stood in the front door frame eating his peanuts, blocking the entrance, and chanting “there ain’t no news in the Central News” until they called the police and he disappeared. I didn’t catch his name thirty years ago. Maybe it was Isaiah. Anyhow it was a man that did not let the news determine his outlook and vision. One scholar says the prophet doesn’t let data get in the way of doxology. One way to deal with this is to not watch the news but create it. A friend who does this locally doesn’t take the newspaper or watch the news. As the news naturally reaches her she simply asks how can I do something to make this better and goes to work. The other way to do this is like Isaiah who watches all the news. There are about eight chapters of news sometimes before he God corrects and refocuses his life and energy toward his understanding of God’s dream for things. He changes channels so to speak and goes to work.
Jesus, in his first sermon, in the face of the Rome and Jerusalem news that he knew better than anyone, says “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor”. (Luke 4:18) Jesus invites us to be a part of the good news to the world. Don’t let the local or national news get in the way of the good news.