This past week I have been in some discussions where as missional leaders we have a deeper passion for creating environments of experience rather then developing events. It has caused me to contemplate the meanings we have behind these expressions. Can an event in fact be an experience?
It has been my understanding over the years that when people draw two paralleling contrasting ideas, they tend to react against one or the other in a pendulum like fashion. You are either Conservative or Liberal, Republican or Democrat, Coke or Pepsi, and so on. Likewise, I think that is what is happening in our texts as we find meaning in the gospel.
Isaiah is finding the tensions between an exiled nation and the redemption of Israel; Mark finds the tensions between John who must become less and Jesus who must become more; and Paul finds that tensions between the model of the cross in us and the life of Jesus coming to rest in the believer. Thus, the tension of the gospel is a life of faith in tandem with the death of self.
Mark, you stated that, “the gospel is the announcement of an event.” When we consider the event as a Kairos moment in life, we can acknowledge that their is an infinite amount of events that can take place throughout a persons life which will shape who they are and what they will become. The gospel itself is not necessarily in all these events but the potentiality of it, or His, presence is. Jesus’ words of God’s Kingdom being at hand or near is reflective of this.
The experiencing of the gospel in any one event comes from the subversive willingness to allow your relationship with Christ to interpret and transform each moment into a realigning understanding of Kingdom perspective.
Jesus told a parable where he spoke of the Kingdom of God being like that of a mustard seed. When you cast it into the soil and it takes root, it grows. Not only does it grow but it also flourishes into a huge plant that impacts all the other life around it. (Mark 4:30-32) This is the story of the gospel; it takes root through the events of a persons life and evolves into a life giving force!
I have always said this, but a person’s testimony of the gospel being present in their life cannot be boiled down into any singular moment or event. It is only visible through the on going pursuit of new event horizons where the evolutionary experiences of the gospel taking shape in your life make greater impacts and service to those around you. To borrow Michael Horton’s words,
“There is a significant origin and end point to history, within which we ourselves are cast members. It is a courtroom drama in which we are either false or true witnesses, “in Adam” or “in Christ,” justified or condemned, alive or dead.
Neither masters nor tourists, we become pilgrims.
Unlike masters, pilgrims have not arrived and they do not presume to inaugurate their own kingdoms of glory. They don’t have all the answers and they are not exactly sure what their destination city will be like; they are driven by a promise and by God’s fulfillment of his promise along the way. Yet unlike tourists, they are on their way to a settled place and every point along the way is a landmark toward that destination.“