Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking whose story was dramatized in the movie by the same title is a short, spunky woman with a passion for justice and a story of how God dragged her into a life-changing relationship with a prisoner on death row. She tells the story of how one of her colleagues encouraged her to write a letter to a prisoner, which she did, thinking little of it. Then she went on to explain how that letter had altered the course of her life. She put it in the simplest terms: he wrote back, they developed a relationship, and the gospel of Jesus happened.
I was immediately captivated by the simple thought that our relationships are the place where the gospel of Jesus happens. I believe this is true, and I believe it can happen in many different ways and on many different levels.
When does the gospel of Jesus happen? Any time someone is affirmed, any time value is attributed to a human being, any time forgiveness is extended, any time love is spoken, any time you remove a speck from someone else’s eye because you just had a log taken out of your own, any time patience wins out, any time justice is done, any time the hungry are fed, the naked are clothed, and the good news is preached to the poor. Any time someone writes back.
In the case of Sister Prejean, the gospel of Jesus started with an introduction and saved a man for eternity, setting her on a course to reach many others is similar circumstances.
It’s an active gospel. It happened a couple thousand years ago. It will happen today thousands of times. Be a part of it. Be looking for how and with whom the gospel of Jesus might happen in your life today. Someone is waiting.
He wrote back, they developed a relationship, and the gospel of Jesus happened. What else is there?