Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Gospel

"Behold Your King"
The second station of the cross from an outdoor sculpture garden at the Museum of Biblical Art

"God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son 
into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us 
and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins."
1 John 4:9-10

"To fix beliefs or ideas in someone's mind, especially by repeating them often"
Definition of "inculcate" from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

"To stamp in, to form upon, to impress"
Etymology of "inculcate"

Over the last month or so (but really for much longer than that), God has been pushing me to-you guessed it- inculcate the Gospel in myself. I think it can be easy to think that once we have read the Bible, accepted the Good News, and even "taken ownership" of the Good News, our work of absorbing the Gospel is done.

However, a quick look at our fears, our insecurities, our beliefs, our doubts, and our identities shows that although we hold onto the Gospel and are held onto by the Gospel, the truth of the Good News doesn't pervade our thinking in the way we would like it to. This has been my experience all too often. Headlines about a worsening pandemic overshadow the hope of redemption. Stories of Christians putting their faith in politicians (on either side of the aisle) overshadow the hope that Jesus so obviously had for his Body, the Church. Constantly being confronted with my fragility and weakness overshadows the trust that God could know me, love me, and (here's the craziest one) use me. 

I wonder if this kind of situation is why churches throughout history have leaned into consistent liturgy so heavily. I wonder if that's why I could visit my grandparents' Lutheran church this Sunday and hear the same creeds, songs, and prayers that I heard 20 years ago when I couldn't even see over the pew in front of me. God has been teaching me the extent to which the world muddies the living waters of the Gospel.

I don't always trust God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Not only is that something God has grace for- it's something He isn't at all surprised about.
I (and all of us) can choose to be purposeful about finding ways to preach the Good News to ourselves and to one another regularly. 

I've been developing a personal liturgy- a set of five scriptural truths, each with two accompanying verses that I read out loud to myself daily, and I've been encouraging the students I meet with to do the same.

A moment from our introductory sermon on idolatry. We've since spoken on the idolatry of entertainment and beauty.

We've been teaching on some of the many things that we as humans tend to idolize. I would highly recommend watching some of these if you have the time!

  • Please pray for continued safety for our students and their families during this pandemic.
  • Please pray for opportunities to reach students on campus. The lack of campus life and the cold weather has made that difficult, but God has been faithful! One of the small groups whose leaders I've been mentoring has doubled in size over the last month.
  • Please pray for conviction and wisdom for our students as they seek to follow God well without the normal structure school provides (most classes are currently asynchronous).