Let’s take a broad-brush approach to the gospel of our redemption. God created humanity and all the rest of creation to live together with God in one great harmonious web of inter-relationship. God is central to all of this, the power that holds it all together. However, the spirit of rebellion leads people to shift the centre from God to themselves. This results in alienation both from God and from fellow human beings and from the created universe. God acted in Jesus Christ to restore humanity to its intended state. While the full realization of that state has not yet come about, it has been re-established as a possibility. Acting out of grace or unmerited and generous love, God reconciled the world unto himself, sinners were redeemed, offenders were justified, peace was restored. In his day, Jesus was deeply moved with compassion for the crowds that listened to his teaching and brought the demon-afflicted to be healed. They were eager for this new life that he was talking about but didn’t know where to find it, running around like sheep without a shepherd. He told his disciples to pray for workers to bring in the harvest so obviously ready. And what about today? There is a harvest waiting to be gathered in, that is, there are people around us who are just ripe for this message of God’s redemptive love. It goes beyond gathering people into the church – that may be a step on the way. It is a matter of gathering people into living the possibility that Jesus opened up – living the life of the kingdom of God, God’s realm of justice and peace, of hope and salvation, of joy and forgiveness, of service and of love.
- The world lives in alienation from God. How is that evident?
- What evidence is there that there are people just waiting for the message of God’s redemptive love?
- Reconciliation lies at the heart of the Gospel. What is involved for reconciliation, either between God and us or between people, to take place?
- How can we best deliver the message of God’s reconciling love?