[NB: You can listen to the sermon by clicking here]
“…woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel.”
Those words rung in my ears on a viciously hot July night in 1999 at Christ Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, when this scripture passage was read and preached by my bishop before he invited me to kneel, laid hands on my head, and I received the rite ordination.
It was like I was being joined – stitched – to a long line of preachers who held this message in their hands so reverently that they couldn’t help but share what had been so lovingly entrusted to them.
And while this journey of preaching the gospel has taken me on many adventures – including the one I am on now – I still wonder, in those quieter moments, if I am up the task that is put in front of me. I worry that the words I use and the words you hear are saving words that we call “gospel.”
As many of us know, the word “gospel” means “good news.” And those of us who’ve been around the church for a while might think we know what that word means. But I’m not sure that’s true. Because I find myself asking, “Good news” for what? From what? What is the bad news that is in your life, and then what is the good news that I am called to proclaim as a response to it?
How would you define the word “gospel”? What is “good news”?
For my master’s thesis I had to come up with a definition of the gospel. And because I allowed four years of graduate study in theology to get the better of me I defined the gospel as this...(whole thing here)