The Gospel According to Jo

This was a bit of a tradition back at the Community Group my friend and I led. We would take turns, not every week, but once in awhile, to give the Gospel narrative, and a different person would do it each time. We called it "The Gospel According to [name of the person speaking." Don't get me wrong, we weren't changing or adding to or detracting from the Bible. We weren't speaking authoritatively. But rather, we were framing the Gospel narrative in a way that was personal to us and in a way that we hoped would be personal to others. By having different people give the narrative, we encouraged every member of the group to think about the Gospel for themselves, and to be ready to share it. We were also able to get different viewpoints and different nuances of the Gospel from each speaker.

All my posts this week (and a lot of my posts recently) have been about identity. It wasn't intentional, and it wasn't something I deliberately sat down to think about, but rather it was just the first thing that came to mind when I sat down to write my posts a couple hours before they were "due." Anyway, I haven't really had anyone in my life to properly remind me of the Gospel lately, so I decided to remind myself.

Edit: Wow, in writing this, I realize that I've gotten rusty :(

The Gospel According to Jo


Before there was Time, there was an entity who simply was. He "wased" with Himself, and indeed, He existed in three persons. Three persons who were not each other yet were the same. We call this entity God. God was not an entity who was a power or "the bright side of the Force," but He was a community of Persons. And within this community, each Person felt and gave love, one to another. God simply was who He was, but at the same time, in their interactions together, each Person sort of defined the other. And God was very joyful as a result of this interaction.

Out of that joy he created what we call the universe. And on a certain planet (much more complex and much more dearly loved than a mere watch) he created and placed two humans. And the two humans shared in the joy that God had in Himself. They were defined by the Goodness of God and their interactions with each other. And it was very good.

But our first parents were tempted. They were told that they could have identities outside of what God had given them. That they could be wise. That they could have knowledge. That they who "merely" partook of the joy of God could in fact be like Him. And they believed the tempter. The sought this identity and gained it, but found that the tempter's words were shadows of the truth. As a result, they became shadows of what they should have been. Defined apart from the joy of God, they were now also subject to His wrath, for they had destroyed a very good thing. And God, though joyful within Himself, was very sad and betrayed that these people rejected Him.

Because our first parents sinned, everything changed. They who had partook of not only God's joy but His eternality (though they had a beginning) would now know death. And the Earth they lived on would know death. This death would define them. Death would cut short their relationships with each other, and in doing so, would change their identities. And death would further damage their relationships with God, forcing them further away from His grace and into His eternal judgment. Death would enter their human relationships, with one exploiting the weaknesses of the other. Toil to work the dying land would define them. Toil to bring life into that same dying world would define them. Whether they laughed or cowered in the face of it, death elicited a response from all of humanity. And it got the last say.

But God had mercy. Christ, one of the Persons of God, became a man. He identified with us, so we could find our identity in Him once again. He spoke to us and healed our infirmities. And the more we interacted with Him, the more he changed us. He experienced our Death, but He conquered it, both spiritually and physically. He took upon Himself all of our sin, all that which separated us from God, all that brought death to our bodies and souls, and suffered our punishment. He died, but He did not stay dead. Rather, He came back to life, and in doing so, paved the way for our own resurrections, both spiritual and physical.

Through Christ, we can again find our identities in God. We become transformed by His goodness. His Spirit lives inside of us, reconnecting us to Himself. He identifies us as His children, His people. As His children, we also find our identities in each other, in our siblings-in-Christ, in the Church. As His people, we have assurance that this world is not our home. And these identities are not transient ones to be cut short by death, but instead are ones that continue into eternity. This is the promise to those who believe.

Is this something you believe in? Why or why not? If "yes," how would you articulate the Gospel? What is the Gospel according to you?