Updated: Nov 7, 2022
Authentic Story: The Biblical Story & Our Own
Do you think that the Bible is one coherent story, or is it individual stories disconnected from one another?
If you had to summarize the main theme or idea of the Bible, what would you say?
Where do you see yourself within the story of the Bible? i.e. Whose stories do you resonate with? Where do you feel God speaking into your life through the narrative of Scripture?
Listening to the Story
If we ever want to have a chance of understanding the whole story of Scripture, or the story of God at work in the hearts and lives of God's people then and today, we must learn to listen.
Listen to the story of others, to the story of God at work, to the story of God’s work throughout Scripture until today.
By being willing to listen, we then become able to participate.
We need to understand God’s mission in order to understand the nature and scope of it, and how we might join in.
If we are unwilling to listen to Scripture, to the lessons God's people learned time and time again, and to God's faithfulness despite their brokenness, our attempts will be loud and disconnected from God’s work in the world – it will be about us.
So tonight, we are going to first spend a few moments in prayer, silencing our thoughts (if that's really possible) and asking God to speak to us through His Word and through His people.
Listening to God's Word
Lectio Divina - Holy Reading
Lectio Divina is a focused, spirit-led, read of the Bible -- asking God to illuminate for us what He is leading us to.
This does not mean the booming voice of God is going to speak audibly to you. Instead, as we read and re-read the short text -- that a word, an idea, a verse might stand out to you and hit you in the heart.
There are many different formal and more informal ways to practice lectio, today we are going to lean more informal.
Step 1: Take a few deep breaths, ask God to give you the eyes to see and ears to hear what He is saying to you in this text.
Step 2: Read the text aloud slowly, taking a mental note of a word, verse, or idea that sticks with you.
Step 3: Take a deep breath and consider what God might be saying to you through this verse or text.
Step 4: If you are willing, share what you sensed.
Step 5: Repeat until this has been done 3 times.
Word of God
If the Bible is the very Word of God, given to us today -- then we should expect it to speak to us!
The beauty of lectio is that it is not dependent on a perfect interpretation of the text, but instead is a willingnness to faithfully listen to God in and through His Word.
God Through His People
Use this time to listen.
See what parts of their story stick with you and relate to you.
Ask God to speak through their story today.
When they tell their story of faith how do you feel? What is going on in your own heart and mind as they tell of what God has done in and through them?
We are people of story
We resonate with stories, we see ourselves in them, hearing the stories of others help us to see that we are not alone!
Authentic vs. Inauthentic Stories
How do you tell the difference between an authentic person and an inauthentic person?
Our Place in the Biblical Story
Creation - The perfect Garden relationship between God and His people. Flourishing was the norm, God's intentions were met.
Fall - We blew it in our desire for autonomy and power, and left the perfect garden behind to live in a world marred by sin and brokenness.
Israel - God chose Israel to be His chosen people, through which He would once again return Creation back to a garden-like state of right relationship between God, His people, and the World. But, they sucked too and continually wandered and disobeyed God's good laws.
Redemption - Because humans are incapable of living lives reflective of God's redeeming purposes of Creation, He sends His son Jesus to overcome that which is keeping us from being God's representatives on Earth -- sin. Jesus bears all of our suffering and sin, dies, and offers us new life as those with the tools be work Creation into a state of renewal and redemption.
Church (YOU ARE HERE) - The tools of forgiveness, grace, and love are given to God's people (not only Israelites after Jesus, but all believers in Christ) and we create the Church, the bridegroom of Christ, Jesus' people here on Earth. And despite our own Israel brokenness, the Church is equipped to be those tilling the sinful soil of Earth in our small daily faithful actions to reconcile the world back to it's gardenly state. This is you and I today, we are a continuation of the Biblical story. We are in then midst of it and called to be faithful workers of renewal in a broken world.
New Creation - Yet, until Christ Jesus comes again and brings with Him once and for all the New Heaven and New Earth, this creation will never return to a perfect Garden. But, we are called out of gratitude and faithfulness to live lives that seem to reflect God's intention for all of humanity in Creation (point 1). And we anticipate the day, which no on knows, where God will once again bring a New Creation devoid of sin, shame, and suffering for all of us.