Following St. Mark's lead, we considered the what, where, and when of the gospel yesterday. We noted that, like all of theology, it gets back to the Who. We tend to toss around a short definition of "gospel" - the good news of Jesus Christ, Son of God.
That's a good shorthand version, but doesn't say much by itself, so we spent some time remembering just a few of the ways Jesus' life, death, and resurrection are good news for us. The Who of the gospel (Jesus) gets to the why of the gospel: because God loves us.
The more we dig into it, the more we want more of the story told. We begin to see the need for 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The good news couldn't be boiled down to a few pages that would fit into a pamphlet. There's too much to it. Each expression is important. We need to see the good news expressed in Jesus' grace for the sinner and for the hungry and for the demon-possessed and for the lame and for the rich man who needs something significant in his life and for the Samaritan and for the bleeding woman and on and on.
It's notable that one telling of the gospel, Mark, wasn't enough. He did well, you can imagine Matthew, Mark, and John thinking, but there's also this other story that needs to be told, and this angle that needs to be shared, and another audience who would benefit from hearing about this part of the good news.
Just as none of the four gospels cover the good news in its entirety, so it is with music. I appreciated how the hymns yesterday supported the connections between Isaiah 40, Mark 1, and themes of the sermon. I would have been hard-pressed to think of "Heralds of Christ" during Advent and, yet, it was a great choice for illustrating why we're to prepare the way of the Lord and what the days we're working toward will be like.
If we pay attention, the gospel can be revealed to us in many ways and often music is one of God's best means to get the good news into our souls.
Central's extraordinary Chancel Choir has been preparing for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols since August. They have worked hard to help God get the good news into our souls. They always help our souls praise our good God.
I hope you are making plans to attend the Lessons and Carols service this coming Sunday at 4:00 pm (pre-service organ recital begins at 3:40). I'm reminding you now so you can invite others to be here. You will be grateful for the gift and the meaningful service deserves a great crowd.