Rejoicing in the simple gospel
“The Minister is here! Let everybody know and please ask the Captain to be ready to receive him.”
When we work preparing the ports for the ship’s visits, this is a common thing to hear. Port after port we have the privilege of receiving high country authorities through our vessel’s doors and seeing them impressed by our ministry and touched by the work.
I personally have had the chance to meet many high ranking figures. I remember praying at a Minister's office in Mauritius, visiting a Mayor in South Africa and Taiwan, meeting the Governor in Cameroon, the Minister of Education in Trinidad and Tobago, the Vice President in Costa Rica while the President passed by and many others during the prep time. During the preparations for my own country, Chile, I had the chance to go to Parliament and invite Senators to come on board—meeting people I had only seen on television. It was quite an experience; all the protocol involved, the conversations, the way you greet, the way you sit, how much you say or don’t say.
I believe politics are at the same time interesting and complex, and they do not only happen in the secular world but inside God’s church as well. As I visit churches in different countries I have seen how the church is politicising in a way that sometimes scares me. We are full of titles and protocols; divided by certain issues such as tithing, dress code, music, prophesy and so on. We lose time and energy on this while millions of people haven’t heard the gospel, not even one time.
We are moving away from the simple gospel. And by the simple gospel, I don’t mean a cheap one. I mean the one that the apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (NIV).
And as a response to this, my job is to go out there and tell everyone about this until He comes back (Mark 16:15-18). Not more nor less than that. Without decorations or trying to adapt the gospel to our modern lifestyles. Sharing who He was, He is and He will be.
As time passes by, my prayer has changed. It is no longer for God to take me to higher places, or fulfil His promise for me but through me. It has become more and more my biggest pleasure in life when I see the poor being fed, the orphan being adopted, the widow being comforted and my heart kept separated from the pollution of the world (James 1:27). Not ignoring it, but fighting it. Bringing justice where there is none and being a light in the middle of the darkness.
As simple as that.