Our Story…

Chapter 1: The Story of God

The story that makes us who we are begins and ends with God. We find ourselves, and the meaning of our life together, in the middle of the greatest love story ever told: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever trusts in him…shall have eternal life” (John 3:16). Our story is about the person revealed to us in the gospel of Jesus, the Nazarene, who is God the incarnate Word and Son conceived by the Holy Spirit–the face of the eternal, infinite, unchanging Trinity of love–through whom all things were created in the first place and in whom God has acted freely for us and our salvation.
 
Ours is also a story of cosmic proportions. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The story that begins with the creation of the universe at the dawn of time aims toward the promise of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1)–a renewal and consummation of God’s creation still to come by the power of the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. That’s how our Bible begins and ends, after all, why our hymns celebrate “

all creatures of our God and King,” and why we continue to practice careful stewardship of our planet.

Within that frame, we focus on the history of humanity made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27): the story that starts with Eve and Adam’s fall from paradise in the Bible and leads to the incarnation of divine humanity in Christ. This story is about the entire history of our human struggle between right and wrong, which God assumes and heals in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, the second “Son of Man,” and the triumph of God’s Spirit of love in our very human nature culminating in the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). It’s a message for all people, regardless of creed, color, language, or nationality, and a calling to “make Christlike disciples in all nations”–to save and to serve the whole human race.
 

Within the scope of that grand biblical narrative we call the story of God, we find the particular story and calling of the church. It is the story of a peculiar people God raised up for a special purpose: not just to be saved but to be an instrument of God’s salvation for all. God said to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2, 3). Abraham went on to become “a father of many nations” (17:5), but his greatest gift to the world was the heritage of a universal faith. That faith embodied in a community of hope and love was the promise passed down through many generations, the inheritance that would be fulfilled in Jesus and his disciples, the seed of the Kingdom that would flourish in the Spirit of Christ and his church.

In the biblical history of Israel, we find the mystery of our own calling revealed as hope within history for all the peoples of God. So, even though we come from different tribes and histories, we boldly confess with St. Paul, that “our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea…and all ate the same spiritual food [that we eat], and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10). In Moses, we ourselves have received the gift of God’s law to bring about justice for all. In David, the promise of the Kingdom is truly ours as well, so the sovereignty of God may be known in every land. In the Hebrew prophets, we have heard God’s call to holiness for people of all tribes and nations. And, all because all that belongs to Christ is also ours in him (1 Corinthians 3:22)–which is to say that we who “once were not a people, are now the people of God” (1 Peter 2:10).
 
Further reading: The Story of God, by Michael Lodahl