It's Wednesday and we're halfway through what has been, so far, a varied and thought-provoking Summer School.
In the morning, David Smith led a session on the gospel in Romans. When Paul writes about the gospel he is challenging the many different meanings of 'gospel' emerging at that time, in particular of the Roman Empire as the means of salvation for the world.
Paul's writing on the subject is not neutral – if Jesus’ death is indeed the gospel, then all other views need to be challenged! As he writes in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” A gospel that would be considered shameful in Roman eyes: a Saviour nailed to a cross.
LCM missionaries working with people who are marginalised elaborated on the theme of shame, a life-dominating emotion residing in the shadows of people’s lives; a stain they can’t get out in the wash. What do you say to someone who says their actions may have been forgiven but what about themselves and the stains they carry? What do you do if people have been hiding in the shadows and feel they don’t belong?
Dealing with such deeply entrenched emotions requires patience, love, consistency and an awareness of the unique individual. Consider the One who has known the ultimate shame of sacrifice on the cross to bear our sins but who has overcome it, as is written, “For the joy that was set before him [Jesus] he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
The afternoon was spent delving deeper into the city of shadows with a visit to Webber Street, learning more about those who come through its doors and the work that is done there.
Please pray for the students on the course this week, that they would see how they can apply what they are learning in their own communities and contexts.