What the gospel means for me and how I am living it
Rev. Felicity O’Brien, August 2012. All rights reserved PDF
For me, the Gospel is the Good news of the life and teaching and person of Jesus Christ. Good news, that God loves us so much that God is prepared to be born on earth as a vulnerable child, live serving others, and ultimately be put to death like a criminal, all for our sakes. His radical love and acceptance of everyone is a huge shining beacon for me –Jesus looked at everyone with love, the love of the God who made each person, and I can do that too, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel is freedom, freedom from following the world’s way, from feeling unloved and unloveable, from people-pleasing.
The gospel shapes my identity as a follower of Christ, and I don’t mean ‘following’ like on Facebook, reading a line or two Jesus has said and ticking the ‘like’ box, I mean following in his footsteps, like a centipede’s back legs follow the head. Following the nudge of the Holy Spirit, maybe to uncomfortable places, but God will give me the words, or shut my mouth and open my ears.
The gospel means that we who follow Jesus are His hands, feet, and mouth. We are not part of a corpse, embalmed by tradition, but part of a living body, ready to bring life, eternal life.
Living the gospel for me means ministering to people with problems. Over the years Kevin and I have gone into bat for those who are struggling with health issues, mental health problems, Work and Income, legal issues, employment issues – anywhere where justice is needed. This passion for justice has always been part of my DNA. The gospel teaches me how to see people with the loving eyes of Jesus, not regarding how the world sees them.
Experience as a beneficiary, and dealing with health problems and legal problems has given me some tools, but more importantly it has tuned my antennae to see where things are not right, and the Holy Spirit gives me the courage to stand up and say so.
I see with compassion those who would like to be part of Sunday worship, but other things in their lives makes this impossible. Why should people be denied gathering together because they have to work on a Sunday morning, or the kids have sport? Therefore I am planning a new evening service.
I have discovered that I love preaching, unpacking the Gospel for the body. I have a heart to disciple our people, helping the words of scripture be food for the journey. My latest venture into spreading the word is my new blog site – I’m using today’s technology to reach today’s people.
Through my academic study I have found that being a follower of the Gospel means many different things to different people. I have delighted in trying to understand the viewpoints of others, while knowing increasingly where I stand. This can be a challenge, and I have been ticked-off for using ‘we’ about what Christians believe. Loving dialogue is so important.
I love living the gospel in the body of Christ, both at home, and worshipping in many traditions, from high church, to full-on Pentecostalism, and everything in-between. All of these nurture me, and the traditions are important, but I know that Church is not the Gospel, and we may need to strip away layers and layers of tradition, attitudes, and habits to come back to the imprint of our Lord and master, Jesus Christ.
Living the Gospel is a wonderful way to live – delighting in knowing that God is real and active, will answer our prayers, will provide what we need, and that no matter what happens to us in this life, we will never be separated from God.