Hearing God’s Gospel in New and Surprising Ways

Hearing God’s Gospel in New and Surprising Ways

Dear People of God at Ebenezer,

After nearly 2000 years the Gospel still has the capacity to surprise us!

Thirty-four years ago as a first year seminary student I went through what was then the “rite of passage” or “boot camp” experience of learning New Testament Greek in an intensive eight week summer course. When we questioned, occasionally out loud, why this was necessary, our professor would explain that learning Greek makes the Gospel strange to us again. Slows us down. Forces us to deal with unexpected details and to be confronted by inconvenient challenges.

I hope that we’re having a similar experience in worship this year. As you know, we have been reading the Gospel texts, and occasionally the Old Testament texts, in an unfamiliar translation. The Message is Dr. Eugene Peterson’s labor of love and gift to the Church. Dr. Peterson, who passed away this year, was a deeply faithful and gifted New Testament scholar who crafted this translation to slow us down in our reading. His mission was to help these stories, which are so very familiar to us, retain their ability to surprise us, confront us, put us to death, and raise us up to new life.

I hope that as this worship year goes along we find ourselves more and more comfortable describing the God who is an active presence in our lives. And I hope that we hear God’s Gospel in new and surprising ways! Thank you for our faithful worship together!

In Christ’s Peace,

Pastor Paul