A great poet once wrote, “Midway this way of life we’re bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, where the right road was wholly lost and gone.”
As a word, “Gospel” simply means, “good news”. This word is used in the Bible to speak of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The writers of the New Testament believed that in the life and ministry of Jesus we find “Good News”. But what is this good news? Well, as encapsulated by the poet quoted above, and as echoed many times throughout the Bible and the history of the church, it is simply this: we were lost, and Christ has found us. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and have fallen short of the glory of God.” This sin is the cause of our lostness.
However, the same Bible says, “But God shows forth his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Our sin, and the love of God are pitted against each other in battle. By the death of Christ our sins, our lostness, has been defeated, and we can be free from all things that cause us shame, grief, and despair. We can be free to love God and love each other as we know, deep down, that we ought.
Though the Church can be an elaborate diversity of thought and ritual, at the end of the day the Church has always taught that one thing, and one thing only is required for us to be found and brought into the care and protection of our heavenly Father. God wakes us from our spiritual slumber, we realize that we are lost. We must repent and ask God for help. He will help us.
God has given us the Bible, and the Church to help us. It will come individually for each of us, that moment when we know, deep down, that we are not living the life we ought to live. At that moment, our thoughts, our desires, must be turned toward the love and mercy of God. His Spirit will guide us, as we follow him, back to the Father heart of God.
The Rev. Lars Nowen