Sorry it's been so quiet here. It's been...quiet.
I start blog posts. Delete them.
Start new ones. Delete them.
Yep, it's been that kind of week. It isn't that I haven't been thinking. Obviously.
The other day, a woman blogger I read wrote about how the gospel isn't just for Sundays but for every day, every hour, and that got me to thinking, of course. I throw around the word gospel all the time. It's important to me. "Walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel," Paul says. And he certainly isn't talking about one hour on Sunday morning. So what IS he talking about?
Most of the time, when we think of the Gospel, we think of the word "Good News." And this good news, for me, has always been most clearly distilled in the sentence of Romans 5: 8-- "The amazing proof of God's love is this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." In a nutshell, this is the good, the best, news of the Incarnation of God. We might also simply say, "For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not die but have eternal life." (John 3: 16)
These are two magnificent verses that spell it out perfectly. The who, what and why of the gospel. And our responsibility is summed up succinctly in Romans 10: 9-10. Paul tells us that, "if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you shall be saved."
And so we can be done with it.
However, I think there's more to it than this.
See, Jesus spent His earthly ministry talking about the Kingdom. "The Kingdom of God is near."
Over and over He taught not only by word but example what this Kingdom means. The preaching, the service, the giving to the marginalized, the seeking the lost. The Kingdom is not made up of rules but of those who love and are willing to lay down their lives for each other, and, of course, for Him. His Kingdom--come on earth as it is in Heaven--is radical. It looks different than earthly Kingdoms. In Christ's Kingdom, everyone has a place at the banqueting table, even those who might not look like they belong. In Christ's Kingdom, it's not about how long one has worked, but who one is in relationship with, that counts.
Yes, in the Kingdom of Heaven, we are worthy because we are His. And then, once in the Kingdom, we are called to live and act and do and be LIKE Him. To live like Him. To follow Him. To act like Him to the world who will only see His face in our faces. So we can tell them that He Loves THEM like they're the best thing that ever happened to Him. Because, after all, they are. He's the LOVER of their souls, and He wants to use us to tell them. We're His lovers--His little worker-bee-lovers on earth from here to Kingdom come.
So when I think of what the gospel is, it's not only "God so loved," but, "Your Kingdom come."