What is the gospel? Some say it is the power of God unto salvation, but what the heck does that mean?
I (currently) say the gospel is belief in Christ, that is believing his story of the world and who God is. Belief in Christ is about trust. Trusting God. Problem is, I don’t know if I’ve got it in me. It’s like swinging out on a rope see – looks like a lot of fun, but its also damn hard work, and frightening for some!
There are muscles that must be strong enough to hold you suspended in the air all the way out until you know you’ve hit the moment when it is right to let go and – hold your breath (not your nose) - fall… down… into the cool rushing water and plunge down to the still deep, not struggling until its time to climb your way back to the surface, burst through, laughing and panting as you stroke and slide your way across to the edge ready to scramble out for another go.
So why do it? Well, why do you swing on a rope? Because you wish you could be that free and able, because you long to plunge, limbs flailing, towards rushing water with the ease of skill and custom. Because people you admire make it look so much fun. Because that is the way life should be lived.
I remember the shame I felt as an adult trying this, I think it was for the first time in my life. I held the rope and swung out… and couldn’t hold myself up! Quickly I slipped down the rope into the water with a huge splash. I sank down deep and considered not coming up again, so hurt was my pride. I even let the river carry me downstream a little way and sat on a log there while I recovered my composure and took enough courage to come back and face my companions.
When eventually I did, I was much too afraid to have another turn. I knew that my friends would be witness to yet another humiliation and I wasn’t ready to take the risk. And I never have since.
And it is a source of regret to me, so much that I think I might join a gym and work on developing the strength of those muscles so that I can have a proper go. Maybe I won’t be willing to do it out in public straight off - in front of those who find it so easy themselves. Maybe I’ll find my own rope swing and practise just with people who know and love me, spurring me on, until I know I can do it.