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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gospel, part 2

So the other day I was helping perform a wedding with a Roman Catholic priest in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN. I was the preacher for the event, and he conducted the service. It has been my pleasure to be a part of a couple of these joint Roman Catholic-Lutheran weddings throughout my career, although for a long time our two traditions were not on the best of speaking terms. Anyhow, after the service, he joked that I would "make a good Catholic priest." (Granted, I would be-- a married-- Catholic priest, but I appreciated the compliment.) I told him, that a Trinitarian Lutheran was all I could aspire to, and he nodded in acceptance.
What I like about almost all of the Roman Catholic priests I've met throughout my career is that they show acceptance without judgement about my call, about my work as a priest--although not in the Roman tradition. That acceptance of me, of my work, my call, is "gospel" to me.
Last week I talked about "gospel" as freedom and life, and today the word also carries with it overtones of acceptance. To have gospel is to be accepted (even if not approved!)
Most of us have trouble living gospel lives because we can accept so little...Now, I'm not talking about accepting in a fatalistic way, in some kind of karma-induced coma, but rather accepting that some things are not going to change, some things are not going to go our way, and some things are not going to be pleasant for us to admit...Gospel is about accepting the worst and not falling into hopelessness or despair...
In this regard we follow Jesus of Nazareth who accepted his own death without succumbing to the despair that creeps in this petty pace from day to day (apologies to Shakespeare!) This acceptance of reality without succumbing to fear or despair is why Jesus of Nazareth is gospel for Christians. There is nothing more to attain to than that! Should you doubt your own abilities...(always a good idea by the way when it comes to defeating death)remember the gospel!
Remember that you are loved by God, remember that God gave life to you, remember that Jesus loves you, even knows your name...
Gospel is about accepting...accepting life, accepting God, even accepting ourselves...and how might we do that?
There are many ways, I suppose...but I was at a wedding...maybe that's a start?

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