The Gospel that Jesus proclaimed
was of the imminent reality of God's Kingdom.
He spoke of Hope of a better life and of Divine Justice.
. He spoke of Unconditional Grace and of God's Love for All.
He spoke to the needs of a people living under tyranny,
in fear and often in extreme poverty.
After the death of Jesus, Christians became a harrassed sect of Judaism
discouraged by the loss of their leader but still active,
preaching a message of spiritual equality
and the rights of the downtrodden poor.
Paul changed and undermined Christ's message with a fresh perspective,
a theology based on ancient prophecy to explain the death of Jesus,
creating a new religion, outside Judaism.
and thus no longer a threat to it.
Promotion of Christianity to a religion of the Roman world
absorbed classic religious teaching and Hellene considerations.
The inclusiveness of original Christianity was replaced by hard edges.
As authority became vested in Christian leaders, old ideas were swept away,
their records were destroyed and their proponents removed or executed.
The Middle Ages changed the perspective yet again
as divinity came to be seen through powerful secular rulers;
as Jesus took on a royal mantle and ruled from a golden throne;
as personal redemption from our sinful nature became crucial
and forgiveness vested in the power-mongers of the church.
We are inheritors of that Corrupted Gospel, centred on self.
It remains as a source of competition, warfare and evil
and a denial of the true message of Jesus,
but a very practical approach to power.
The demise of the church and religious faith
reflects the untenable nature of the message it proclaims,
yet there is a truer way, Christ's way, awaiting our consideration.
We can return to the message of Jesus, updated for our time.
We can speak again of the imminence of the Kingdom of God
seen through the medium of current concerns.