God's Story and Our Story
We all have a story, a history. We have our individual stories, and our collective human and world story. A past, a present, a future.
What is your story? Who are you, what is your journey? Where are you heading? Who are you, as a unique and special being, going to be in the future?
God has a story too! His story is the big story, or "meta" story as theologians call it, within which your story, my story, and the story of our world sits. Just like my story fits within the story of my mother and father, and that of my grand parents and earlier ancestors, which in turn fits within the story of my town, state and nation's histories and cultures. None of us experience life alone. Our stories are influenced by being part of a larger historical and cultural context.
We all tend to have a particular view of ourselves and the story of us. We also have a vision of what the wider story of life is, and how we fit into it. How we see that story, our part in it, and our future, has a huge impact on our mental and emotional well being. Just a glimpse into the eyes of a starving child, a poverty stricken parent, or an abused spouse, bears this out.
God wants us to see how our story, and the past, present and future history of all mankind fits within his story. But how can we know that story? How can we know what that story holds for us all?
The Bible claims to be the revealed "word" or communication from God to humankind. It is God's story and our story. It is the story of God's plan and purposes, or our origins and destiny.
God's story turns out to be the ultimate story of love and freedom. Too often God is pictured as either a cold detached being who has created everything and then sat as a detached, all powerful judge who is waiting for us all to get in line with his rules and authority. Many see God as controlling everything and everyone, starting with a creation in which he micromanages every detail of the creation of everything and everyone. He is portrayed as predetermining all histories, beginnings and ends. But the Scriptures portray God creating not as a hyper-controlling super dictator, but as a gracious, benevolent parent, creating all things with generosity and spectacular creativity and freedom.
He created us free. Free to choose our destiny. Free to be who we choose to be. But in his love he shows how we can be the best we can. How choosing his way of generous grace and love is the best choice, the only way to truly achieve our full potential.
In our freedom, from our earliest responsible human ancestors (Adam and Eve), we have chosen to live our lives independently of God. To find our own way, to set our own course, to determine our own values and priorities. Like children growing up we prefer living life our own doing what we want. Mum and Dad seem like old fuddy-duddies who don't really have our best interests at heart.
Throughout the pages of the Bible we see God and man interacting. We see God showing individuals such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses and David that trusting in his love and guidance is the way to free themselves of the problems of life lived apart from God (sin), and to let him lead them and their families and peoples to the better life.
The Bible is full of stories of people who trusted God and those who didn't, and the consequences of both. It is God's way of saying to you and me; these are your choices. Live with me, trust in me, walk with me, and become fully and wonderfully the best you can be. Or choose to live on your own, and end up being a shadow of your real and best self. It is the ultimate life and death choice.
The story of God, and your story and mine culminates and is most clearly and fully portrayed in the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Jesus literally brings our stories together as one. He is our "at-onement" with God. As fully God and fully human, Jesus unites our stories into one. As God he came to reveal God's life of love to us. He lived as one of us, demonstrating what life lived in total trust and loving, intimate partnership with God is like. Just before he died, he told his disciples; “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” (John 14:6-7 NLT).
When Jesus was resurrected he showed what our future history will be like. As one of us, God raised him from the grave and gave him a new spiritual body. He was still recognisable as Jesus. Death had no power over him. He ascended to live as one of us, glorified and immortal, in God's presence. The Bible shows that by trusting in all he has done as God and as one of us, Jesus shares his new life with us today, and promises to return to our earthly home to resurrect us all to fully experience his glorified life in fellowship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
The prominent theologian Karl Barth wrote about Jesus' history and the Christian life;
The Christian is a man whose life Jesus Christ has entered as the subject of that history of His. ...He is a man to whom Jesus Christ has given not just a potential but an actual share in that history of His. Thus Jesus Christ, His history, became and is the foundation of Christian existence; this and this alone. The Christian comes from Him, from His history, from knowledge of it; he also looks back thereto. This is the ground on which he stands and walks. This is the air which he breathes. This is the word which he has in his ears before, above, and after all other words. This is the light, the one light, the incomparably bright light, which illumines him (Church Dogmatics, IV.4, 11).
This is Jesus' story, and the Christian's story, and it can be your story as well. We are all free to choose. Why not take time to think and discover more about this story that God has chosen to include you in?
GCI Pastor Tasmania
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