I must confess that I am sometimes intimidated about praying in a church gathering such as a prayer meeting or small group. My brain is not wired to call up Old Testament images about restoring what the locusts have eaten or calling down mighty angels. These references make those adept at praying sound so . . . so . . . spiritual and powerful.
In the internet age, civility seems to be the primary casualty. It is so easy to vent our judgment and hostility to those with whom we don’t agree. Unfortunately, those in the church sometimes share in this trollish behavior. There have been times when I have read social media posts and cringed at the lack of sensitivity to those who don’t share our beliefs.
As I thought about this, I thought that I should use my Bible software to do a search of the word gospel in the New Testament to see how the gospel is described. Here is a list of things that I learned about the gospel from looking over the list along with a reference to where I found it. The list is not exhaustive; some of these appear in multiple places and I only list the reference to the first mention.
Question 15 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “By what sin did our first parents fall from their original condition?”
While we can often only see the limits, we are called to see beyond them. Why? Because we worship and serve a limitless God.
So while we enjoy the gifts that we give and receive this Christmas, let us be continually mindful of the greater gift that lends his name to this holiday. Without him, all our celebration this season would be nothing more than whistling in the dark.