Saturday, January 17, 2009

More on Story

I continue to wrestle with the idea of Story. I haven't written an official document yet for our church that describes everything we mean and entail when we say "Story Church." Part of the reason for that is that I feel like the idea continues to grow in my mind, and I'm not ready to commit to one idea yet. But let me go ahead and think a bit here in this format about one aspect of story that I've been thinking about lately.

First off let me give one assumption from which I work. The Story that we find in Scripture, and that we see unfolding around us all the time is dynamic, it's happening. It hasn't just happened. The Story continues onward. This is really an important point. If I understand that the Story is still being told, that it isn't over yet, then my part in that Story suddenly becomes pretty significant. But if the Story is over, and now I'm simply telling people about it, my own life seems to be less important in terms of what I do, as long as I tell the Story. For me this metaphor helps to underscore the role that I play in not only telling, but actually helping to write the Story that God is telling.

Also, to understand my place in the Story I need to understand some things pretty clearly. For one thing, in order to know how to write the next chapter, I need to know what has happened in the Story up to this point. To know where we're going, we need to know where we've been. The big question is this: What is the Story about? I would argue, that the very simple answer to that question is God's love. But let me unpack that a bit. Let's start in Genesis. Why did God create the world and people to begin with? He certainly wasn't lacking. He didn't need us right? God created the world in an act of love. He desired a love relationship with us. He desired to love and to be loved. So then in the garden, man went ahead and messed that up. We broke the intimacy with God that we were intended to have. Now what is the rest of Scripture about? I would argue that it is God unfolding His plan to bring His people (all of mankind) back into relationship with Him. He ultimately does this through an act of love in giving His own Son on behalf of us. So again, it's God's love and His desire to be in loving relationship with His creation. So what about now? I believe that the Story continues on. It is still God's desire to love and to be in loving relationship with His creation. We are headed for restoration. At times we see glimpses of it now. One day we will see things as they were intended to be. The difference being that now God has a people (the church) who help to bring about God's purpose for the world. We bring restoration to people as well as to creation. We partner with Him in this process, and by so doing, we help to write the Story. We become the embodiment of the Story, the incarnated hands and feet of God to the rest of the world.

My dream for Story Church is that we will truly be known by our love for one another. My prayer is that we will see lives restored all around us. That people will find hope, grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness in our midst. Make no mistake though, this Story is not about us, we are not the heroes. This Story is about the resurrected One, the one who made all this possible, the one who made this kingdom available to us here and now.


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