What is the Gospel?
I struggle to define it, to describe it, mainly because I immediately think of the definitions and words and phrases that I've heard my whole life. There is probably truth in these recollections, but they feel a little stale and feel like I'd just be regurgitating something I've heard somewhere else instead of truly describing what the Gospel is to me, what I believe it to be, what it means to me. What words do I put together to describe that? Or maybe words aren't it. Maybe there's an image.
As I sat outside, pondering this question, I looked down at the grass. There was a small, orange, delicate butterfly perched on a blade of grass, gently opening and closing its wings. It wasn't a Monarch, but it was just as brightly orange, beautiful contrasted against the green grass.
And there was my image. It described to me a creation, a people, an individual utterly renewed by God's mercy and grace. It pointed to a coming Kingdom where all will be made right and all conflicts and disputes and lawsuits and wars and complaints and demands will cease. A Kingdom yet to come fully, but a Kingdom that can be present now. A Gospel that tells me that I am both a sinner and in need of grace and change but that I'm also fully accepted and fully loved, a Gospel that I can surrender to and that I can display as I love my family and strangers, as I love myself fully and receive God's love, as I advocate for myself and others, as I approach stresses and conflicts seeking God's grace and peace and compassion. There, I will find that delicate butterfly, renewed and beautiful.