The Story of God: Part One
The story of God is the story of reality. It is the story of a God who exists in community–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–in a Triune dance of perfect love. One day God decided to create a world to share his love with. So he created people in goodness and in love. He created people in his image, and he gave these people free will, because there cannot be true love apart from choice.
Over time these people chose to leave that place of dependence on God because they were tempted by an evil enemy who promised them that they could be “like God.” So the people left this life of perfect peace, joy and love in pursuit of a life where they could be in control. In this way, the garden of Eden became a wild jungle.
God’s love led him to devise a plan to rescue these people he created and loves. In the fullness of time, he came to earth himself and entered that wild jungle. He took upon himself all the evil, wrong doing and shame. He sacrificed himself to make a way for people to be brought back into the dance of love.
After he died, some women went to the tomb on Easter morning, and the stone was rolled away. An angel told them, “He is not here He is risen!” They were afraid, but full of joy. In rising from the grave, the power of evil and death was broken! The possibility of living in freedom, peace and joy returned once again to the people God created and loves. This is the story of Easter.
The Story of God (and me): Part Two
Life in Jesus is life in a different kingdom; it is life in the kingdom of God. Resurrection faith starts with a surrender of control. It begins when I come to the end of myself and I throw myself utterly and completely on the mercy of God. I’m no longer relying on my effort or my good intentions, or my reputation. I’m no longer relying on my respectability or smarts. I’m entering an intimate friendship with Christ that starts now and lasts into eternity.Christ invites me to follow him, to be apprenticed by him. This apprenticeship to Jesus means moment by moment, day by day, I hold the hand of the One whose love for me has no limits. I now walk with the One who has faced a far greater foe than anything I will ever face. I live connected to a God who wants to speak to me and guide me by his Holy Spirit. This new life in Christ is a wild, holy, sacred journey of day by day bringing all of the facets of my being into the reign of God’s kingdom.The kingdom of God is wherever God is king. When I live in God’s kingdom, I am surrendered to His vision, I am living by his values, I am doing what he says, I am following Him. Jesus invites all of me into life with Him. This is not about praying a prayer so that I go to heaven when I die. This is not about one hour on Sunday. It is about all the facets of my being learning, over the course of a lifetime, how to live in this new kingdom where God is in charge. It is learning to joyfully breath in and out the prayer, “Not my will but yours be done.” This includes my body and its desires, my mind and thoughts, my ever-changing feelings, my strong will, my social context, and my soul. All of me must learn to live in the kingdom of God, under the lordship of Jesus. All of me is invited out of the kingdom of this world and into the kingdom of love.
Here on earth I get a taste of the glory that is to come when all this earth will be redeemed. I get to experience now in part what I’ll experience in full for eternity. To the extent that I live in God’s kingdom now, that is the extent to which I experience heaven on earth. The more my entire being comes into the kingdom of God, the more I experience the joy, love and perfect union of that Holy Dance.
Jesus never tried to “sell” people on this kingdom life. He just invited them. He didn’t have a sales pitch on how to live your best life now. He invited people to come and die and be re-born. Folks on the self-improvement plan didn’t tend to follow him. But the ones who were sick and tired of all their striving, who were sick and tired of themselves and all the false promises of this world, they were the ones who left everything to follow Him. They were the ones who were ready to follow Jesus into the waters of his death and resurrection.
Jesus would say things like, “Any of you tired, worn out, burnt out on religion? Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest for your souls. Follow me and I’ll show you a life that’s truly life in my kingdom. If you follow me, you’re not going to fit into the kingdoms of this world anymore. You’re not going to be in control. You may suffer, you will die, but you will know life. You will know a peace that passes all understanding, and you will know a union that is so precious. There is a pearl of great price so rare that you would give all the kingdoms of this world to have it. You would sell all you have to keep it. This life that is truly life is what I offer. And you won’t ultimately come to know it by examination. You will come to know it through surrender.”