Living into a Greater Story

Books“I cannot answer the question, what do I love? Without answering the question, what story do I believe?” James K. A. Smith, in Imagining the Kingdom

We are in a sermon series right now at Faith called “Story.” I love this because it’s more than a sermon series. If we can get our arms around this we soon realize it is a way of looking at the world and living in the Kingdom of God. What we first begin to realize is the gospel story, the biblical narrative, is the story of God. Scripture is more than inerrant and infallible truths to be proclaimed and adhered to. Rather, from beginning to end it is a dramatic unfolding of the story of God’s redemptive work in and for the world. It was never God’s intent to merely inform us with Scripture as much as it is His intent to form us by inviting us into his Story that is being revealed through them. It is not a set of beliefs we are trying to master but a way of living into and participating with the life God is bringing to us.

Eugene Peterson wrote in Eat this Book, “The biblical story invites us in as participants in something larger than our sin-defined needs, into something truer than our culture-stunted ambitions. We enter these stories and recognize ourselves as participants, whether willing or unwilling, in the life of God.

Spiritual theology, using Scripture as text, does not present us with a moral code and tell us “Live up to this”; nor does it set out a system of doctrine and say, “Think like this and you will live well.” The biblical way is to tell a story and in the telling invite: “Live into this…this is what it looks like to be human in this God-made and God-ruled world: this is what is involved in becoming and maturing as human beings.

When we submit our lives to what we read in Scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s. God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves.”

The grand narrative of Scripture is the story of God redeeming and restoring all things. Salvation (God redeeming us) is more than just the forgiveness of sins and a hope of heaven; it is also the restoration of broken relationship that makes a life with God possible now….that we might join him in his redemptive purposes. This means the Christian life is not so much about conforming our behavior around a set of principles, rather we are invited to live with an on-going attentiveness and responsiveness to how God is working our lives out in the story he is telling.

What we discover is it’s not so much that we invite Jesus in our lives as much as we accept God’s invitation into His. And having accepted that invitation, God reveals himself, initiates the work of redemption and invites us to participate with him for the sake of the world.

What we discover is we are caught up in a Story greater than our own.

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