The Greek word, schizō, is used to describe the heavens being “torn apart” and it is used at Jesus’s baptism, and is also used to describe the tearing of the temple curtain at Jesus’s crucifixion. In both places, the word indicates God’s dramatic activity in the world. The Baptism of Jesus identifies him as the one who sees the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending, and a voice from heaven indicating an affirmation for Jesus: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased”.
Someone said to me recently, ‘I looked at the Mail Online newspaper today, and on every page there was bad news.’ My first thought was, that’ll teach you to look at the Daily Mail; but then I considered what effect that might have on us; when what we see and hear each day on the news, is grim. It may be reality, but it is reality presented to us through a very particular lens. What lens do we choose to see the world through? Is it a lens of critical thinking? A lens that distorts things to always look better than they are? Is it what we might feel is a lens shaped and formed by our Gospel? What does the daily news look like when we read it through the gospel lens? Doing that, interpreting the world through the gospel is what we do as Christians; but we also read our gospel through the lens of the world as we experience it. We don’t have the gospel over here and the real world over there. They are mixed up and embroiled in one another.
The living proof of that is you. You are the living gospel mixed up in the world, a world of shopping, watching telly, driving to work, picking up children, having rows, making up, having more rows, laughing, crying, despairing, feeling sick, having fun….all of that is where the gospel is located. Gospel means ‘good news’. If you want to know the good news don’t look in the Daily Mail, don’t even look in your Bibles; look at yourselves and believe it: you are the good news. You are God’s son and daughter - and with you, God is well-pleased.
Revd Steve Rothwell.