For The Someday Book

Bearing News

Posted on: August 17, 2011

Painting entitled "Very Bad News" by Pol Lent, from

Hello. This is Pastor Jennifer. I’m calling because I have some news I need to share with you.

At least once a week I make a telephone call that starts out that way.

Jane is in the hospital…

Joe has moved to hospice care…

Ann took a bad fall…

Sometimes I get to call with good news.

Sarah had her baby last night…

The church just received a bequest…

John has been declared cancer-free…

Then there are the hardest calls of all.

He died last night. After such a long illness, there is peace. But I know you will miss your lifelong friend.

She was rushed to the hospital, but they could not revive her and she died. We’re all in shock. There are no words. I’m so sorry.

Painting entitled "The Arrival of Good News" by Fabio Napolean, from (Found this after writing the post. Perfect match.)

Bearing news, whether good or bad, is a weighty responsibility. I carry the news in my body, in my mind, until I am able to share it with all the people who need to carry it as well. Good news is a helium balloon. I have to hold tight so it doesn’t fly away too quickly. Bad news is a load of bricks.  The more painful it is, the heavier it feels to carry. Tragedy is measured in tons, not ounces. Sometimes I wish I did not have to burden others with it.  When people answer the telephone, innocent and unaware of the reason for my call, I know that what I am about to tell them will change the course of their day, sometimes their lives. I will never forget the times I have helped bear news to young children that a parent has died.

I did not realize, before I became a pastor, how often I would be a messenger bearing news for the community. And yet it is fitting. I entered the ministry because I wanted to bear news—Gospel (which mean good news), the message that God loves us and abides with us in all things. When I make a call bearing news of life and death in this world, I do not bear only that news. I hope I am also always carrying, and delivering, the good news of God, who loves us, heals us, forgives us, saves us and walks with us in the shadow of death. In all things, I hope to bear God’s good news that can overcome fear and drive away despair.

Maybe I should just pick up the phone and start calling people to share that news.

Hello. This is Pastor Jennifer. I’m calling because I have some news I need to share with you. God loves you…


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About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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