Last night I sat outside on the deck and looked up at the moon. I thought of how Neil Armstrong is dead yet his footprints are there at the Tranquility site. They will probably be there for thousands of years.
I wondered how long the impressions most of us make will last after we die. If we have children and grandchildren something lives on. Other people try to live on in their achievements. Childless people often put extraordinary effort into artistic or literary work. We all want to leave indelible footprints.
How does this affect those of us who believe in a real new life beyond the cemetery? Does it make us complacent? Does it give us the security to be more courageous in making a difference now?
Following upon that, I was sitting in our church waiting for a funeral to start this morning. It seemed a fitting time to think about the challenge I mentioned in my Gospel in a Nutshell post the other day. How would I state the Christian gospel in just 7 words?
I wanted to include the God of Israel so that it would be clear that the gospel came from the God of a particular history who speaks from fire rather than some vague, wimpy new age god.
Also, I wanted to state a gospel that could be obeyed, that carried an implication for behavior.
This is what came to mind: In Jesus Israel’s God lives. Fear not.
Of course, limiting yourself to seven words means you can’t really explain the Trinity or the Atonement. Ha!
But I like my seven words. There is a hint of the resurrection, which is core according to the earliest statement of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-7. There is continuity with Abraham, Moses, and the Prophets. And there is a call to live according to the gospel. Fear not. Take courage. Don’t live under the power of death. Be secure and live for God out of that security.