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Before most people had telephones, let alone email, the telegram was the nearest we had to instant communication. Few people under 30 will have ever seen one.

In the dark days of the Second World War, the sight of a “telegraph boy” bringing a Post Office telegram up the path was feared, because so often it brought news of a serviceman missing in action or dead.

When Eric Skelding escaped from Dunkirk (with a large part of the British Army), he sent a telegram to his mother to say he was safe. “Some kind person in the Post Office wrote ‘Good news’ in pencil on the envelope. I have always been grateful to that unknown person,” he said recently. His mother was saved from a fearful experience.

Many people fear to open a Bible, thinking that it is full of stories about a hard and frightening God. Or perhaps they think there is nothing significant in it at all – an empty envelope. It is so easy to have a false image of God – maybe one that we received at school or home, even sadly, at a church.

If this is how you feel, imagine the words “good news” written on the cover of a Bible. For that is all that the word “gospel” means.