He tells us of the Centurion- That all Truth is God’s truth no matter where we find it.
He tells us about his Family- That in the Kingdom of God, his family is made up of those who hear and do the will of God.
He tells us of the feeding of the 5000- About how we need to accept responsibility as the Church and stop selling our birthright to worldly governments and institutions.
He tells us about what it means to Worry- And asks us the question, “Where does your worth lay?”
He tells us the parable of the Lost Sheep- And we find that we have a purposeful, determined God whose will is that none should perish.
He tells us the famous story of the Lost Sons- And we are asked to come to a place were we stop believe the false story we tell ourselves and start believing the story God tells of us.
He tells us of the fate of the 2nd Rebel- Where does the Kingdom of God start and end for us?
That is the “What” of the Gospel. That is what Christ saw the Fulfilled Kingdom of God to be and what it is to look like in this world for his people.
That was his “Good News”. In Christ’s view, the Gospel -the Good News- is not just one event frozen in time or a story of 33 years. It is the working of God in the world from the first day of existence in the Garden to the day when the Kingdom is indeed fulfilled.
And in chapter 24, Luke brings us to the “How” and the “Who”.
What does this story tell us about those ideas?
What does the story tell us? What stands out?
Jesus is dead.
And it’s the women who were the ones to stay and see what happened; the ones to see where the body was buried. So as they were faithful in the life of Christ, they are now faithful in his death. That couldn’t be said for most.
The women went to prepare his body and yet it was they who were the ones who were prepared. They just didn’t know it.
They went early in the morning. –That might turn me away right there.
They stood in awe at the rolled-away stone. –Scared? You better believe it.
They meet 2 angels. –Another opportunity to turn and run. But in their fright, they didn’t run, they bowed. Don’t try to tell me that wasn’t a testament to their character.
They were told they were looking in the wrong place but ya know, I love that at least they were looking.
How must these words from the angels have seemed to them? Like foolishness?
They finally run home to tell the disbelieving disciples.
-Women- 1st to preach the Gospel. Charged by angels to do so.
So tell me, who is allowed to preach the Gospel? Who is allowed to tell of the Good News of an ever-faithful, persistent God?
Who is forbidden from it?
It doesn’t mean that anyone who says anything is always right and we should just accept it.
The individual and the Church work together on this. But to systematically disqualify over half of God’s children from this sacred trust… I cannot accept that.
How do we convey this message?
What ways are acceptable and what ways do we outlaw?
While we should never conform the Gospel to our culture, we must always be contextualizing it for the culture.
The truth of Christ trying to bring the Fulfilled Kingdom of God into this world, here and now, can never change but how that truth is presented often does.
Doesn’t mean the other ways are bad or wrong. Quite the contrary, they have been of great help to many.
It’s a bit of what we are doing here.
We are starting small groups that we will help us be the Church to those who may never step inside this building.
We are going to be, slowly, bringing new songs to the worship service. Someone might even bring a guitar up on stage.
We are going to be reaching out to youth and college kids and 20 something’s, not so much to tell them that they can come and sit with us but to give them opportunity to explore their mission as ministers of reconciliation. To give them a place to make a difference in ministry.
I understand that change is not the easiest thing in the world. I get it. I really do. But relationship, with ourselves, with each other, with God, requires change.
It’s outside of a lot of our comfort zones and that’s ok.
Not everything changes and those things that do will not change overnight.
But the Church has never been asked to do its job until it finds a place where it’s comfortable and then to stop.
So we won’t stop. But we will do all of this as the body, as the Church, together.