Monday, June 15, 2015

Invitation to Hearing the Scriptural Story

William Shakespeare, in “As You Like It” composed these famous lines:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

These words remind us that our lives are part of a larger story that being written each day. What does this story look like? Our internet connected world flashes a multitude of competing stories and images at us at a break net speed. All seek to draw us into to their narrative web. What story or stories shape us? What images and visions propel forward in our lives.

I often begin seminars and classes on the Bible by asking this question: What novel, short story, film, or movie best represents your life as you currently see yourself? When I’ve done this in small groups, I received some interesting answers over the years. Many of us resonate with underdog stories of courage and overcoming odds, romantic tales of love, or the deeds and adventures of super heroes. Yet there is One Story above all others that  beckons for our lives. It is the Bible. As we seek to advance God’s kingdom in the early decades of the 21st century, we must re-engage the Story so that we can live as the missional people that God created us to be.

In the Preface to his sermons, John Wesley wrote these words:
I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: Just hovering over the great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing, -- the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way: For this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: Here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri [a person of one book]. [1]
In other words, the Bible is the one story to which each of us needs to listen. Scripture desires to transform us. God uses his Word through the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and shape us.

The Bible is the story of God’s relentless love for all creation. It’s narrative traces God’s desire to redeem a lost humanity and heal a broken creation.  When we read Scripture, we encounter the Creator God who invites us to participate with him as He advances his mission to bring restoration, forgiveness, reconciliation, justice, peace, hope, and love through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In the Bible, God reveals his character, his purposes, and his plans so that we may live as the people whom God created for us to be.

As we seek to advance God’s kingdom in our day, let us realign with God by immersing ourselves anew in the Scriptural story.

© 2015 Brian D. Russell

Brian's recent group study resource Invitation with companion DVD offers a 10 week overview of the Scriptural story with a goal of forming readers in the core biblical truths of mission, community, and holiness and unleashing them into the world to live as a missional community that embodies and reflects God's character for the world.

[1]Preface to Sermons

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