The word ‘gospel’ is derived from the Old English word ’godspell’ meaning ‘good story’. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a story of love and life. It can be summed up in the words from St. John’s Gospel, chapter 3 verse 16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
But why did God send Jesus? It was a plan with its origins in the beginning of time. The story is told very well in the song “Life” recorded by Elvis in June 1970. This song has finally appeared on a Gospel album. In the year 2000 it was included on the 3 CD set, “Elvis – Peace in the Valley- the Complete Gospel Recordings.”
The song describes the creation of the universe, by a powerful loving God. It explains how God made Man in His own image. Man had a wonderful relationship with God. He appreciated God and worshipped Him. God provided for all man’s needs and human beings lived an idyllic existence. This wonderful existence was however spoilt when man was tempted to disobey God. Man chose to disobey God and the immediate consequence of that choice was that all generations of Man became alienated from God. Because of his shame, Man could no longer have that close, trustful loving relationship with his Creator. God, however, knew this and had a plan to help man come back into that good relationship. He sent His only Son, Jesus, not only to show us how to live good lives, but also to die, on the cross, on our behalf. This was so that we who were conceived in love, but who fell because of pride, greed and hate, can be reconciled with God and have everlasting life.
What a wonderful song! Made even more wonderful by the beautiful voice God gave to Elvis.
The events referred to in this song can be read in the Bible in the book of Genesis, chapters 1, 2 and 3, the Gospel of John, chapter 3 verses 16-21 and the Gospel of Luke, chapter 23 verses 26-49.
The last line of the song says “life is love and love is life”. But what is love?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophecy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these things remain faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(Taken from 1 Corinthians 13, which was Elvis’ favourite Bible passage. One of Elvis’ girlfriends, Linda Thompson, had the last verse engraved on a plaque for Elvis.)
THE GOOD LIFE
The good life is obtained by us having a good relationship with our creator God. To have this all we need to do is recognise that we are not perfect and that we need to be reconciled with God. When we agree to do this and live our lives “God’s way” rather than “My Way”, we start a whole new wonderful existence, we are “born again”. When Elvis was born again, perhaps he said a prayer like this:
“Dear God, I believe that you love me and that you sent Jesus to die for me, so that I can have a good relationship with you. Please forgive me for all the wrong things I have said, thought or done. I ask you Jesus, by the power of your Holy Spirit to come into my life right now. From now on I want to live the joyful, peaceful life you have promised me. Amen”