“I have good news and bad news …”

Sunday’s gospel reading was Matthew 1:18-25 (Saint Joseph’s dream), and two of the hymns, and the preacher, referred to Luke 1:26-38 (the Announcement). The unnamed angel in the first and Gabriel in the second certainly put the best news first (indeed only): ‘he will save his people from their sins’ and ‘He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High …’. Well, which prospective parents wouldn’t accept that kind of fore-telling? But the angels leave out the bad news: oh, by the way, your son will suffer misunderstanding, opposition, rejection, betrayal and a cruciating death. Which prospective parents would accept that?

(spoiler alert for the movie Arrival)
Several months ago, I saw the movie Arrival. I am definitely not suggesting a direct parallel, but it also involves the conception, birth, short life and death of a child when the mother (but not the father) knows in advance about the short life and death (with no resurrection, even).


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