The word "Gospel", or εὐαγγέλιον means, as I'm sure you are aware, "Good News." But what, in our current social and political climate is the "good news"? What does the message of Christianity have to offer us today, when so many things have changed in the world from the era of its birth?
To the Jews, the Euangellion offered certainty in a time of religious fracture. Holiness in the face of corruption and hypocrisy. While the Sadducee were in bed with the Romans, the Essenes were in the desert, and the Pharisees were in your face, the Christians offered a novel way to "[...]not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.[...]"(Romans 12:2)
|photo credit: Matt Neale|
To the Greeks, the Gospel presented a God who was just, unlike their capricious and vicious deities, but yet present and tangible, unlike the lofty abstractions of their philosophers. For a people hungry for truth, the Truth was irresistible. Their deepest longings, the strivings of their philosophy, had finally come into being through Christ.
What can the Good News be for us today? We have largely jettisoned and circumvented the concerns that the the Gospel alleviated for the ancients. The Greeks were in fear of amoral gods? Well we don't believe in gods! The Jews were oppressed by the labyrinthine, choking omnipresence of the Pharasees' Oral Law? Hah! *We* hold ourselves to no laws, only the animal desire to remain in the herd. People worried about order and truth, consistency of thought and philosophy? Bah! Compared to the people of the past, we barely even think! Who then needs consistency? Clearly, the old charms of the Faith won't be enough.
|photo credit: amira_a|
But the Gospel still speaks to us today. Indeed, it probably offers more to us in the depths of our degradation than it ever did to the first century Greeks and Jews. For us, it navigates between a Scylla and Charybdis far more deadly than the 1st century's choice of impunity and legalism. When the powers of the government and media degrade us by forcing us to embrace blatant lies, the Gospel offers Truth. When they tell us that accepting various hate facts will necessitate a Darwinian genocide , the Gospel points instead to Christian charity, and the fact that "[...]those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable."(1 Corinthians 12:22)
The Gospel offers us the the opportunity to break free of the lies; the freedom to be, as Christ said, "not of the world, even as I am not of it."(John 17:16) We become sheep of a different shepherd, one not so quick to fleece us. In the midst of uncertainty, destruction, and chaos, the Gospel offers the blueprints to recreate the world. As Rome fell, and the West was built up better and stronger from the ashes, so will Christianity again recreate civilization from the fallen corpse of the West. And even though it is easy to fall into despair, we are told that "[...]this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory[...]"(2 Corinthians 4:17)
Keep strong in hope, my friends. For we have been given Good News!