We are supposed to be discussing, “what is the gospel.” We are supposed to be. We are always supposed to be discussing something, but leading this Bible study is always a little like herding cats. I am glad I don’t have to lead. We are supposed to be discussing the gospel. What is the gospel anyway?
We have already eaten together. Broken bread, fed each other. I can see the frightened look on the lovely lady who had volunteered to cook for the week as people no one expected enter into my home. She feels bad, unprepared, like her offering is not enough. But there is extra Thai peanut chicken in my fridge that needs eaten and it takes less than five minutes to heat and shred. Where one thought there was not enough, there was plenty, an abundance even. All were fed and there was more left over. We are nourished by one another’s hands. We have not yet started discussing the gospel.
We are laughing together when the dining room chairs are placed haphazardly around the edge of my living room. I sit on the floor. There is plenty of room and everyone has a seat they seem comfortable in. And we are about to start discussing the gospel. My oldest has already spread her arms wide and announced to me and her father that the guests in our home are “her people.” (If she ever becomes a dictator, she will surely be a benevolent one.)
We sit around my living room table. We cut out construction paper caps and apples. The kindergartener down the street are low on parent volunteer hours. We talk about the good news, what it is, what goes with it, as we do a menial and unglamorous task for our neighbors.
We talk about the good news. We are the good news. I think about my husband bringing back the caps and apple. 62 of each, traced and cut in about an hour. There are projects and programs and complicated volunteer forms, and those things are good too. But an email to a teacher asking if we can help and a group of friends with seven pairs of scissors. It is really all it takes. And that is good news too. (Maybe not the good news, but good news.)
I remember sitting in the college cafeteria in a pre-arranged meeting with a girl interested in “spiritual things.” When we got to the bit about Jesus being the bridge between heaven and earth she interrupts me. “That is good news!” she cries her face delighted with the idea of it all. She is right, that is good news.
It is gospel that we can be each other’s people. It is good news that we feed each other. It is gospel that we laugh together. It is good news that there is enough, even an abundance. It is gospel that we can change some lives, love well with just an hour and six pairs of scissors.
Jesus did the gospel, and Jesus is the gospel. And we can and should spread the gospel. And we can and should be the gospel. Hallelujah.