The 3rd post in an ongoing series about attending a “conservative led” church as a “liberal”.
I am really enjoying the liturgy in the Church of England we are attending. It’s something I found missing in other churches. For me, using liturgy helps me to find my role in the unfolding story of God. There is a flow and a rhythm to the service. We explicitly hear each week of the work that Jesus did in on the cross. It’s important to be reminded of that.
But it also leaves me asking the question, “is that all the gospel is?”
Each week we hear that we are sinful people, heading for hell but because of the cross we are rescued and get to go to heaven.
I’m not against that reading of the gospel. But I don’t think that serves up the whole picture of the gospel. I don’t think that covers everything that’s going on.
This reading reduces everything to a binary transaction. We are the problem, Jesus is the solution.
What of the creation narrative, the Abrahamic covenant, the mosaic covenant? What about the life of Jesus? What about our lives, right here, right now?
None of this matters if we hold to this basic view of the gospel.
Being a “liberal”, I don’t believe that the sole point of the gospel is for Jesus to rescue us from hell and take us to heaven. For me the gospel is the reconciliation of all things. It is freedom from oppression and injustice. It is longing for the Kingdom to come and for Gods will to be done on earth (Familiar words aren’t they?”
I believe that I am saved from something but also saved for something. I am to be a blessing to all people. I have to hold out and hold on to the living word. I care about this world, and its inhabitants, as I believe God cares about it.
The gospel is the proclamation that, through the Son, a new world order is breaking out in the midst of the old one. The gospel challenges us to be heaven bringers rather than heaven goers.
So yes, I believe that through the cross we have been ransomed, rescued and redeemed.
But that’s just part of the picture.
- A liberal undercover (smoorns.wordpress.com)
Today has been a good day.
I’ve been slowly working my way through the OT and I am now at Joshua. I got up, as planned, at 7am this morning to start Lent. To give up some sleep and spend some time with God.
Those that know me, know that I’m not generally one for spiritualising scripture but Joshua 5 spoke a lot to me this morning and I wanted to share some of those thoughts.
The Israelites renew their covenant with God by getting circumcised (just the men) as no one had been circumsised since they left Egypt and all the people that had been had now died.
YHWH then says to Joshua, “Today, I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt” (5:9). God has rolled away my shame. He has “cut off” my guilt, my inadequacy, my shame. The old is gone. Today is not yesterday. Today is today. A new day. A renewed covenant.
The flip side of that is that I have to choose to live in that reality. I have to realise that it has been rolled away. I could choose to still walk in that old way. Pretending that the foreskin (pardon my vulgarity) is still there. Living under that shame and guilt.
But I don’t have to. God has rolled it away.
Later, Joshua comes face to face with “the commander of YHWH’s army” (5:15) and is told to take off his shoes as the ground is holy. Joshua is going through the same ritual that Moses went through. The batton has been passed to him. Only when the covenant was renewed (by circumcision) was Joshua able to see this. The ground was always holy. But that only happened when Joshua committed himself back to God. We can walk around unaware that the ground is holy. We can miss the presense of God every day. I know have. Many, many times. But when we re-connect. When we renew that covenant. God will open our eyes.
That’s what he’s done for me today. I have taken lent as a rededication to God and God has shown up. He has revealed that the ground is holy.
Roll on tomorrow.