A worship professor voices frustration at students who conclude a Gospel reading with “Here ends the Gospel.” “The gospel doesn’t end,” my colleague insists. “The gospel is the good news—then and now!” Reading the endings of the canonical Gospels, one imagines that the four evangelists would agree with him. Each of them has difficulties wrapping things up.
Matthew ends with what at first appears to be a tidy conclusion on a mountain in Galilee. The risen Jesus commissions the 11 remaining disciples to make more disciples, to teach and to baptize. It looks like an ending, except that Jesus’ last words are, “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” What kind of an ending is it when the main character is still on the scene, promising to remain forever?