The Gospel explained … in chairs
I recommend watching this clip of a preacher explaining the gospel in two different ways using chairs:
It brought up several thoughts to my mind: “Why is there no set way to tell the gospel?”, “Which one of these is the best way to represent the Gospel?” and “I’ve never seen chairs like this before!”
The first question can be answered when considering that that there are four Gospels in the bible and that they are not identical. The main plot is the same; nonetheless the authors include details that help the good news resonate personally with each of their audiences.
“And God… turned his back to us.” I gasped in disbelief when I heard this phrase in the speaker’s first representation of the gospel.
The rest of the first retelling really paints God as distant, disgruntled and sullen. However this really does not equate with the God I’ve learnt about from my bible! I still remember reading through the Old Testament as a child and thinking God was being way too lenient with the ancient Israelites, had I been God I would have wiped them all out by the time they started making and worshipping those golden calves!
Turning his back towards mankind would have been the obvious thing he could have done, but no! He really does just keep coming back, trying to restart that relationship with us.
I really like the way the second representation explains, in a more coherent way, that sin is really our decision to go our own way, rather than God’s way. It also portrays a relentlessly pursuing Father God, who is earnestly trying to mend a broken relationship. In retelling parts of Jesus’ ministry it helps the hearer understand that the man who died for the sins of the world really didn’t deserve it and that surely love for his creation must have been the driving force behind his actions.
It’s funny that it seems like the speaker just wants to try and fit in an extra Jesus story, but he just has not got the time! That is where the power of the Gospel is - in meeting Jesus. Knowing that over 2000 years ago he transformed lives and 2000 years later he is still transforming lives! As the chairs were being stacked it showed beautifully how we now can reside in God, and God in us through the Holy Spirit.
So next time you see a chair ask yourself, am I turned away from God? Am I facing towards God? Or am I facing the world with God within me.