I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is old news, but it is still good news: Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead to overcome sin and death. We have new life in Christ, our living Lord and King of Kings. It’s also good news that the death and resurrection of Jesus is the climax of a very long story: God creates the earth and all that is in it, reaches out to a man named Abraham, builds a nation through difficult circumstances to be a light to the world, and then comes to earth as the Jesus, the baby of Mary. Jesus teaches us how to love God and each other and shows us the meaning of grace.
What’s amazing to me is that thousands of years later, the Ten Commandments still are reasonable guideposts. The Bible story shows us that God organizes society with provisions for the least among us and all those on the margins. More than just a personal faith: It’s a tried and true framework for living, especially for living together in community, that holds its own against any other philosophy or religion or worldview. I can’t think of a time in my life where the basic teachings of the Bible haven’t held true or shown me the right course to take or failed to help me make sense of suffering. This may sound odd, but by believing in the corruption of human nature, I rarely feel disillusioned and frequently feel surprised by the grace of God.
I suppose God could have just written in the sky: Treat others the way you want to be treated, but God gave us a very long love letter so that we could know the length and width, the height and depth of God’s love. It’s an extraordinary story!
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s a framework that should be imposed on others, but it is a framework that deserves a place in the conversation. I once heard that Christianity found fertile ground in Ancient Greece, a culture that was accustomed to different schools of philosophy: Platonists, cynics, stoics, epicurians, sophists, etc. Could this be a model for living as a Christian in a pluralistic society? Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion, rather to be religious and speak from that viewpoint.
God, after all you have taught me by your Holy Spirit and through the people you have brought into my life, I could never be ashamed of the Gospel. Raise up a whole generation of believers not ashamed of the Gospel. Thank you for the freedom we have in this country to gather in worship and practice our faith. Lead us to exercise our freedom and help us never to take it for granted. Today I give thanks for all the veterans and active military who protect the freedoms we enjoy. Be with them, keep them out of harm’s way. Show them your grace and love today on Veteran’s Day and always. Thank you for the sacrifice their whole families are willing to make. Amen