On Thursday evening our choir rehearsed the great Martin Franzmann hymn “O God, O Lord of Heaven and Earth” for Reformation Sunday. Among the many powerful phrases and metaphors are these lines drawn almost directly from Scripture:
How beautiful the feet that trodthe road that leads us back to God!How beautiful the feet that ranto bring the great good news to man! (Lutheran Service Book #834 – St. 3)
These sentiments have taken a whole new meaning for me since my visit this past summer to my birthplace in the Enga Province of Papua New Guinea. Wherever we went the people were so grateful to the missionaries for all that they had done for the people of the Enga Province, especially for bringing to them the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. These sentiments were perhaps best summarized by a song that was sung for us on July 17 by the youth at Kaipare Lutheran Church very high up in the mountains near Sirunki in the Enga Province (see below).
The gratefulness of the Enga people as expressed in this song and throughout our trip brings to life in a very real way the following passages from Scripture:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” – Isaiah 52:7
And from the Apostle Paul who quotes Isaiah:
And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” – Romans 10:15
I also love these wonderful passages about proclaiming the Good News upon the mountains:
Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! – Nahum 1:15a
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. – Isaiah 61:1
Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” – Isaiah 40:9
Let us all join the people of Papua New Guinea and thank God for all the missionaries who have worked in the Enga Province since the first missionaries walked into the valley in 1948. May God continue to bless the work of the faithful in the Gutnuis (Good News) Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea and all those everywhere who bring good news and publish peace and salvation.