Mark 1:15 is flat out my favorite verse in the entire Bible: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news”. It contains the essence of the grace of God and our appropriate response, in the simple unadorned language that is unique to Mark.
The time is and has been fulfilled. The Kingdom of God has broken into this world, piercing time and history. It is our call to repent and believe. Repent means to turn around, which is literally what we are called to do with our lives. The “good news” of course is just the translation of the word Gospel. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus came, lived among us, died and is risen and that because of this God has placed in our heart the faith that bridges the separation between us and God known as sin.
The question then becomes, what now? An answer to this question can come in the form of pondering this “good news”. Who is this news for and what is its nature? I would submit that now this good news is not for us. I mean we have already received the news and are as best we can responding to it. It’s not even news if we have already heard it. Don’t get me wrong, I never tire of hearing this news repeated, one reason I go to worship service. But the reality is that this good news is not for the faithful who have already received it but for those that have not.
This is the case, I think, because of the nature of news. Something is only news if it is shared. If information is not shared then it is simply a secret and God never, ever calls His people to silence. We are indeed to consider the Gospel as good news and to make that a reality we must share it.
Who then should we share this news with? Not primarily with other members of the faithful but with those on the outside. It is the Other, the stranger among us who should be of primary concern to us. This is for whom this good news is truly intended. This good news (Gospel) is for the marginalized and the maligned, the denigrated and the disparaged, the doomed, the damned, the fucked and the forgotten. The Gospel is for those who have given up hope that there is any good news left to hear in this world.
It is our obligation; indeed, it should be our deep joy to carry forth to these children of God, that if they think they are out of chances, they have one more and His name is Jesus Christ. To share this incredible news with these people should and must be our response to having received the Gospel ourselves. It was who Jesus Himself reached out to time and again. It is why He came in the form of a man and took on our humanity. It is how God showed us tangibly that He so loved the world. If this is the way of Christ, then how can it not be our way as well.
In the end the sharing of the Gospel is nothing more than a matter of posture. We can show the world either open arms or bared teeth. As I look upon the Cross I know to the depths of my soul what stance Jesus would have us take, as I cannot help but notice that He died with His arms wide open.
So, to the faithful, I would say this Christmas day and every day, acknowledge that you have received the good news and go out with open arms and hearts and share it with those on the outside of society and do so with all that you are and with everything that you do.
Praise Be to God