For years now our family summer has involved camping in a favourite spot in Cornwall. What began as a cheap holiday mainly for the children has become one of our most cherished family rhythms.
The busier life has become, the more we appreciate the simplicity and fun of those few days. Often with no phone charge or signal, we seem not just cut off from life as usual, but actually able to ‘switch off’.
Except, that is, for my habit of buying a daily newspaper from the small campsite shop. Each morning, cuppa in hand, I catch up on what’s going on in the world while we are under canvas in a Cornish field.
It was in Cornwall this past summer that I bought and began reading best-selling author Alain de Botton’s book ‘The News – A User’s Manual’. De Botton speaks of a world where we can’t stop constantly checking the news on our smartphones, tablets, TVs or even in print.
He delves into our obsession with news, how it shapes, informs and influences us, whether we realise it or not. He exposes how the news media manipulates and moulds the news that we consume and how, in the process, they become the most powerful guides and teachers of our age.
He questions why and how our lives seem increasingly to depend upon a regular ‘fix’ of news. Is it to break the humdrum routine of everyday existence? Is it a way to lift our heads and get our bearings? Like ancient astronomers or adventurers with map in hand, do we look beyond our own experience through the lens of news to somehow make sense of where we are and where we are heading?
For followers of Christ, the Good News – the gospel – is both guide and compass, route map and signpost. When we commit to following Jesus we begin a relationship with him which is life defining and transforming.
”Good News is given to us in God’s Word”
We also start a journey, in the words of Mark 4… ‘with him’. Jesus becomes the reference point for our lives. His Word and ways reveal and illuminate the way that we should go and give us the strength and ability to live in the fullness of our God-given purpose and destiny.
That Good News is given to us in God’s Word – the Bible – and through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Psalmist David recognises his utter dependence upon God’s Word and his need to anchor and steer his life according to the truth and life it brings. In Psalm 119 he calls God’s Word a ‘lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path’.
Illumination both of the way and for every step of the way. More powerfully, he confesses, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Much as I am drawn to reading the news, I am thankful that God’s Good News draws us into aligning our every moment with his truth, his promises and his perspective on all that has been, all that is and all that is to come.
Chris Cartwright, General Superintendent Elim Pentecostal Churches
This is Chris’s editorial from the November 2016 issue of Direction Magazine