Sunday, January 6, 2013

Simple and challenging Gospel

The Gospel is so simple that a child can understand it.  As John 3:16 says, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Simple enough that a child could understand, complex enough to challenge the minds of great theologians throughout the ages.

This morning we sang a song at church about salvation and how glad we are that God rescued us and about how we want to be with Him because of it.

The words to the song were projected on the screen, and the background of each slide was a silhouette of a nail-pierced hand with a pool of red in the hollow of the palm.

It wasn't particularly pretty.

It made me uncomfortable.

I don't really want to think about blood and gore.  I want to think about things that are "true noble and lovely."

The thing is though, the Gospel IS true and noble and lovely ... and it involves blood and gore.

Not just in the crucifixion either.

Mary gave birth in a stable.  It was grimy and dirty and smelly.  Having given birth, I know there are bodily fluids involved that aren't typically depicted in your average Nativity scene.

Birth is messy.

Death is messy.

Life is messy.

The Gospel is Emmanuel, God with us.  God with us in the real rawness of life and birth and death.  The Gospel is by his stripes we are healed, which is more than just a metaphor.  I don't understand it, don't like to think about it, but the plan of salvation involved very real pain for Jesus.

The Gospel a marvel to rejoice over.  It's easy to explain and yet beyond words at the same time.  It also can be something disturbing that I have to wrestle with.

There are parts I just don't get.

Which makes sense for a plan developed by a God whose ways are not my ways.

And so, I trust God to be my Jehovah Jireh, my provider of not only material things, but also the source of of understanding, wisdom and even faith.

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