Lately I’ve noticed many articles, interviews, programs, and media that focus on death, division, destruction, scoring political points at the expense of opponents, keeping people out, conflict, stress, anxiety, theft, cheating, infidelity, and more.
That’s a heavy load to carry. This is the gospel message of the world and our culture. A message of sin and death. A message that says there is no escape from these things – that you are going to drown in a message that will bring you down and destroy you – unless you are strong enough to swim. The bad news is that you aren’t. That’s why we are also bombarded by messages that tell us that we aren’t good enough, but no worries – have we got just the right product, service, politicians, treatment, pill, move, job, significant other, car, house, etc for you!
And it’s a lie.
Being exposed to these messages is sad. It is even more sad when Christians spread these same messages through social media posts, articles, conversations, and more.
What gospel are we proclaiming? Do we willingly proclaim a gospel of hopelessness and death by what we post and share, by insisting that we are right about everything, by pointing or giving the finger to those who we identify as enemies or worse? Where is the Gospel in this?
What Gospel are we proclaiming in our daily lives, in our social media posts, in our conversations, in the ways we live our lives, in how we see other and refer to them and label them, in who we pray for and what we pray about? What Gospel are we proclaiming in the leaders we choose to represent us in religious and secular matters? What Gospel are we proclaiming when we proclaim that the nation’s salvation can only come through this political party or that one and only with this leader or that one? What Gospel are we proclaiming when we set our standards so low that even a serpent couldn’t get under the bar that is set so low.
I wonder what gospel we Christians proclaim – is it a Gospel that talks about the reality of the world, but also proclaims the promise of resurrected and transformed life? Or is it a gospel that proclaims hopelessness, dystopia, and where death has the final say and the ultimate victory?
What would happen if we asked ourselves what Gospel we are proclaiming before we post, before we speak, before we act, before we judge, before we forgive, before we do or say anything. I wonder what the world would look like? Maybe it would look like the unfolding of the Gospel in our midst.
The Gospel lesson for this coming Sunday talks about the necessity of a grain of wheat to die in order for new life to blossom. What needs to die in our life? What needs to die in our congregations? What needs to die in our work? What needs to die in our social media? And what about us needs to die, so that resurrection and new life can take hold?
Alternative gospels that declare hopelessness, death, destruction, and power need to die – that’s what.
Are we willing to take these things off of the life support that we are maintaining? Or are we afraid of this death? Or are we afraid of what resurrection will be and how it will be different and out of our control?
The Gospel is waiting for us – seeking us out in our daily lives. God will continue to hound us and hunt us down, pushing forward no matter how many times we bat it and God away from us. God is relentless like that. And that’s a good thing. It’s what guarantees that the Gospel that is proclaimed and lived out is the Gospel of hope, peace, resurrection. A Gospel of unbelievable love. A Gospel that many find hard to believe. But a Gospel that gives life.