This morning, I read and commented on Don’s terrific “ongoing Journey” post in his blog Life Reference. It is a fantastic read, better than I have ever done or could do in “synthesizing” the fundamental Christian theology, and I recommend you peruse it after this.
My eye fastened on the title of another blog in his sidebar list of follows called iChristian, and when I chased that cat I happened upon, Lying Religious Leaders, posted yesterday.
Steve’s post ends with the following:
2 Timothy 4:1-4 Easy-to-Read Version
4 Before God and Jesus Christ, I give you a command. Christ Jesus is the one who will judge all people—those who are living and those who have died. He is coming again to rule in his kingdom. So I give you this command: 2 Tell everyone God’s message. Be ready at all times to do whatever is needed. Tell people what they need to do, tell them when they are doing wrong, and encourage them. Do this with great patience and careful teaching.
3 The time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching. But people will find more and more teachers who please them. They will find teachers who say what they want to hear. 4 People will stop listening to the truth. They will begin to follow the teaching in false stories
Now, these verses echo richly and dig deep into the soil of my spirit, as probably many others here. These were read, as my “charge”, my “commission”, a pronouncement of the will of God over my life, on the day I was ordained to the Ministry of the Gospel. These verses state clearly, Paul’s expectations of Timothy. In my own heart, I believe they state the expectations of my “Pauls”, those who have poured out their lives investing in my formation. But beyond that, they very solemnly proclaim, in a deep and intimate way, GOD’s expectations of me.
And… of you. Of everyone touched by the charge, the great commission, of Christ. And this struck me very deeply this morning. I heard echoed a question you’ve seen addressed here from time to time… “Proclaim the Gospel! YES! But, what IS… YOUR… Gospel?” That is, what is YOUR Good News, the Good News as you own it, perceive it, as you have experienced it? Because if whatever Good News you proclaim is not deeply relevant to you, does not express your love to and from God, AND your love for the person you speak with… well, without the love… it’s just a brassy clang, not a proclamation.
Well, I cannot answer that question for anyone else. That is wholly in that sacred space between you and God. But over the past week, with an intensity I have never known before, I have seen Jesus crystallize to a diamond’s point…. to a laser’s precision… what is my OWN Gospel. I now know what *I* am to proclaim, and it is a matter of what Richard Rohr calls the “Jesus Hermeneutic”.
These verses fit right up there alongside Paul’s charge to Timothy…
Luke 4:18-21 Easy-to-Read Version
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me.
He has chosen me to tell good news to the poor.
He sent me to tell prisoners that they are free
and to tell the blind that they can see again.
He sent me to free those who have been treated badly
19 and to announce that the time has come for the Lord to show his kindness.”
20 Jesus closed the book, gave it back to the helper, and sat down. As everyone in the synagogue watched him closely, 21 he began to speak to them. He said, “While you heard me reading these words just now, they were coming true!”
Well, Gentle Reader, God is very kind and gracious, very patient and understanding of the flaws and frailties of this Little Monk. In that kindness, He has shown me here, in simple terms, the six lines of “my own Gospel”. This is the message I have shared since my teens. This is the message I will continue to share to my last breath. “That God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to embrace us in His Name, take on all our frailties, faults and sins without committing any of His own, paid the price for them, removed them utterly from us, and now offers us induction into the Father’s House, Kingdom, and Family that God Himself provide for us, protect us, and nurture us as His Own Children. That all we need do here, is acknowledge our need for such embrace, and accept it… relax, and allow HIM to hug us, feed us, and transfuse us from our own death, to the blood of His life.”
I OWN those statements. I have walked through those statements in my own journey, wanderings, triumphs and failures. Thus, that is, My Gospel.
How about you? What is yours?
Pray for me always, Gentle Reader. Always a work in progress. Take and enjoy what suits and rings true in your spirit. Dismiss what does not. God is “ever speaking” in your own heart your own way. “Whatever He says to you, do it.” 🙂 Grace to thee!