S: The Gospel According to Melissa
FC: The Gospel According to Melissa
1: To our future, These things have been written so that you might realize the way we were intended to live with God and each other, and also to see that God is gracious and loving in spite of our many failures and faults.
3: Creation and Separation Adam and Eve lived in a beautiful paradise, which was carefully fashioned by the Creator. While they were settled in the garden called Eden, they lived in perfect community with their Creator and with each other. They also diligently tended and cared for their home; a responsibility endowed by the Creator. But this did not last. Adam and Eve disobeyed the Creator, causing a rift in their relationship and fellowship. But the Creator, in His infinite wisdom and grace, already knew a way to repair the damage that had been done and to reconcile His relationship with the people he loved so dearly.
5: The Messiah A crucial part of the Creator’s plan was His incarnation. He “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory... full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The Creator had come to live in the midst of His creations, but more than that, He had come to share in the lives of His creations. He came to share in our joys and celebration (John 2), our sorrows (John 11:32-44) and in our temptation (Hebrews 4:14-16). The Creator Incarnate was called the Messiah. He was born to a virgin named Mary, and her husband Joseph was His foster father. He was born in Joseph’s hometown, a small village known as Bethlehem. As He grew, He was surrounded by a loving family and a close-knit community. These two important groups of people worked intimately together to raise Him, causing Him to “grow and become strong in spirit, filled with wisdom” (Luke 2:45).
7: A New Family When the Messiah left His hometown of Nazareth to begin His ministry He called twelve young men to travel with Him. They were a new type of community; one called to listen to and learn from the Messiah, and to participate in His acts of love and service toward others. But the Messiah didn’t spend all of His time with His disciples. The Messiah frequently went off alone to pray, seeking to commune with the Creator. The Messiah also enjoyed fellowship with people who were on the fringe of society. Tax collectors, prostitutes, the sick, the disabled and the destitute were all people He spent time serving. His compassion for them and attention to their needs illustrates an invitation to them to join a different type of community, one that won’t ostracize or neglect them. In the Household of the Creator, everyone that truly believes will be at home.
9: The Adoption Process As the Messiah continued to minister and teach He began to face staunch opposition. This conflict escalated into outright hostility, which ultimately resulted in the mocking, beating and brutal crucifixion of the Messiah. His death shocked and frightened the family that He had brought together. His disciples and friends fled, further fracturing the already devastated community of believers. All seemed desolate and lost. But this too was a part of the plan of the Creator. The life and the death of the Messiah brought about redemption and the power to become a part of the family of the Creator (John 1:10-13; Galatians 4:4-7). Reconciliation had come, and with it the Household of the Creator.
11: Family Reunion Three days after His death, the Messiah was resurrected. His followers and friends were reunited with each other and with Him. However, the family reunion was brief. The Messiah ascended to heaven to continue His fellowship with the Creator just forty days later. Upon His departure, He charged His followers to go and bring others into the community they had started. He also promised them that He would always be with them, continuing the relationships they had built during His time with them.
13: The Family Grows After the Messiah ascended to heaven, His followers maintained their close relationships with one another. One day the Creator imparted a special blessing on them: a new way to communicate with Him. This messenger also gave then great power, and with Him they were able to serve the needy as the Messiah had done before them. As people saw their mighty works and heard their message of a Messiah that had come to offer them a place in His family, they joined the community of believers. The family continued to grow at a rapid pace. They enjoyed times of fellowship with one another. They were generous with their possessions and made sure that every need went fulfilled. They continued to learn and grow together as they sought the will of the Creator for their lives as individuals and for the family as a whole. Moreover, they continued to give praise to the Creator as they built relationships with Him.
14: Sources This book contains content from the Old Testament, the canonical gospels and some of the letters within the Bible. However, they have been told in the way that I see them.
15: Impact I would hope that the recipients of this gospel, future generations in my family, would begin to see Christianity as wholly relational. I believe that our faith should be more focused on the way we relate to God and to others, and to be a Christian should mean that you are a part of a universal community, a family, the Household of the Creator.