There was a day when we assumed that our elected officials told the truth. All that changed when Richard Nixon lied about the Watergate break in and proclaimed, “I’m no crook.” Our confidence took another major hit when Bill Clinton told us, with passion, that he never had sex with that woman. The truth, he argued, depended on your definition of “is.” Today the truth is highly elusive.
We once depended upon journalists to tell the truth. If Walter Cronkite said it, it had to be so. He guided us through John F. Kennedy’s assassination like a wise father encouraging his children. He reported Vietnam with candor. The news media have always served as a check on those in power, ferreting out the truth when government and corporations tried to sweep ugly and unseemly actions under the rug. Today their reporting is dismissed as “fake news.”
It makes us wonder: where is the truth and what is the truth. We have awakened to the fact that each of us must discern the source of the story and its truthfulness for ourselves
There is one source, tested and tried, that provides a framework for discerning the truth and living our lives above reproach. It is sometimes referred to as the “Good News.”
This “Good News” is documented from the first century and proven in the global context of 2000 years. In every generation it has caused men and women to turn from greed, lust and destructive addictions to embrace sacrifice and love for their fellow man.
Peter testified, “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (1 Peter 1:16). John wrote, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also.” (1 John 1:1-3)
Jesus grew up in the obscure village of Nazareth, never held an office, never wrote a book, but His life changed the world. We date our calendars by His birth. If we consider those who verified the truth of His transforming power over the last 2,000 years, our considerations would fill a library.
St. Augustine was born in North Africa in 354. He fathered a child out of wedlock when he was 18 and began a quest for the truth that led him to Christ when he was 42. He became the leading theologian of the early church and later wrote, “The precious things that came from the mouth of the Lord were written down for us and kept for us and read aloud for us, and will be read by our children too, until the end of the world. The Lord is above, but the Lord of truth is here!”
Francis of Assissi was born 800 years later to a wealthy merchant family in Italy. He lived a life of luxury and had a reputation for drinking and partying in his youth. A desperate illness following his experience as a mercenary soldier led to his conversion to Christ when he was 20. He refused his father’s wealth and devoted himself to serving the poor and preaching love for God, nature and others. The current Pope, Francis, chose his name in honor of Francis of Assissi.
This is the “Good News,” that God has loved us in His Son, Jesus, and continues to transform men and women in every generation on every continent.