The Story

It is through the story of God that we come to know Him, know ourselves, and become known. *Spoiler alert* He is the only hero in the story, so we fix our gaze on Him. There are many other truths revealed in Scripture that we believe are of great importance (and we encourage humble, yet passionate, truth-seeking dialogue of such things within the family of God), but it is the good news proclaimed through His true story that is of first importance. May we never forget this. Scriptural knowledge should be pursued with the ultimate goal of knowing Jesus, the invisible God made visible, the final answer to the human condition, life itself. We hold to the principle, “In essentials, unity; In non-essentials, liberty; And in all things, charity” (attributed to Augustine). We are committed to the call of Christ to be a diversely unified body, submitted to His kingship. The Gospel is our rallying cry, our family motto, our statement of faith.

The story begins with God. He is timeless and limitless, the source of all virtue, genius, justice, compassion, courage and creativity. He is not like us, but there is a sense in which we are like Him. He is not less, but more. We may dabble in goodness. He is goodness. We have personhood, while He has hyper-personhood. He exists as three persons in one being (Father, Son, and Spirit). Having infinite love, community, and purpose within Himself, He is perfect in every way—content.

In a flash of color and light, the all-powerful Artist creates the universe. The Father speaks it into existence. The Son, the Word that leaves His Father's lips, executes the command through the power of His Spirit. The Father is the source, and the Son emanates from the Father, but there has never been a time when it was not so. Everything within the vast universe that God made is beautiful, flawless, and crafted with love.

The Creator discloses His affection for one creature in particular, as He meticulously crafts them in His image. Male and Female, He creates humanity and animates them with His very breath. He tells them that the paradise He created is for them, and their job is to look after it, fill it with people who will reflect His light, and enjoy being alive in perfect union with their Creator and His universe. One command is given. God does not want humanity to taste darkness. The light of their virtue flows naturally as an extension of their Creator, and in Him is no darkness. He insists that they trust Him. The Artist puts away His brush and admires His composition.

Another of God's creatures, who has poisoned himself with pride, defies his Maker and drinks deep of darkness, destroying himself beyond repair. In his corrupted state, he despises everything that God stands for, and, unable to strike at Him directly, he sets his sights on the treasured ones. Through cunning and deceit, he convinces the man and woman to taste the darkness forbidden by the One who cherishes them. The miserable love company and are always seeking converts. Believing the lie, the humans partake. Instantly they are corrupted. Cut off from their Creator, they become twisted, diminished, and hopelessly broken. A wave of fear, shame, distrust and malice crashes over them. The hunger and thirst consumes—never content.

With a broken heart, God banishes the corrupted humans from His presence. After all, darkness and light cannot coexist. The enemy of God hit his mark. But God promises a Rescuer. His plan is already in motion.

Eons pass, and the humans excel at practicing darkness. Every one of them is infected with the cancer of self, and it takes its toll on the wretched creatures. The enemy of God enslaves the humans and encourages innovations in evil. They devour and are left empty. They oppress each other and are oppressed. In their blindness they don't even realize how far they have fallen. Every thought and act is blasphemy, as they misrepresent the Creator they were built to mirror. Long since has His reflected glow left them. But He loves them still. The heart of a Father is unswayed from its course to redeem.

He reveals Himself to a people who have forgotten. Always pursuing. Always seeking. Always patiently scheming for His children's return. In every generation, He works wonders and displays His power to remind them of the One who spoke the universe into being. By the whispers of His Spirit He patiently speaks through human pens and mouths to a stubborn people who can no longer hear Him. “Wait for me, my precious ones. I will come to you when the time is right.” Some believe. Some wait for the promise. He always has a remnant.

At the right time, the Rescuer comes. God's Son, the Word by which all things were created, is miraculously born as a human being, a seamless union of flesh and divinity, just as predicted. Perfect virtue, courage, light and life comes crashing into a world of deepest darkness and death. Sent by the Father, empowered by the Spirit, the Son makes war against His enemy, and starts to undo all that has been twisted, broken, and perverted. The Stronger Man plunders the thief, who is powerless to resist. The Son is unstoppable and un-tameable (as you would expect the God-man to be). Hostages are set free, rebels are redeemed, the broken are healed, and the oppressed and marginalized receive good news of God's kingdom come. A whirlwind of conviction and compassion as with every word and action the Son shouts “This is who I AM!” “You have forgotten and imagined God as you each saw fit, but this is who I AM!” The Light has broken through, but unfortunately most have become accustomed to the darkness.

In a frantic, last-ditch effort to retain his illegitimate power over the world, the enemy of God rallies humanity to kill the Author of Life. Oddly, the Son does not resist. He willingly lays down His life. It is for this reason that He has come. In fact, everything unfolds as He said it would. Blow after blow—without a word of protest, He bravely endures every torture the collective darkness of a murderous, human mob can muster. He is violently affixed to the technological brainchild of deviant, human minds, subjected to an unrelenting barrage of agony and indignity. They take their time. The most decent, pure human being ever to walk the earth, the image of the invisible God, is met with an unprecedented show of naked aggression and hostility. Beyond the simple desire to see Him gone, His adversaries want Him to suffer. And it is in this moment, more than others, that we see clearly: Humanity is at war with the Creator.

However, the jeering crowd did not know the Father, Son, and Spirit, by mutual consent, had planned this heinous evening before the perpetrators were born. No other way. Only one solution, crafted by an innovative moral genius, who successfully reconciled the pressing demands of justice and decency with His unyielding desire to see His undeserving creation restored to Him unharmed. He will bear it all, the cumulative wrath for every despicable thought and act. The Father hands His precious Son the cup. The Spirit empowers Him to drink. He who has never known darkness, the purest light, drinks deep an ocean of evil and becomes darkness so that it would be eradicated. When He has given all He has, He breathes His last. The Light extinguished, or so it seemed.

His mangled corpse is buried—silence. The human world is restless.

Bursting from His borrowed tomb, the Son rises on the third day. For as any child knows, light cannot be overcome by darkness. As the Son shines, the shadows flee, and, through His resurrection, death is made impotent forevermore. The King has conquered without an army. He has vanquished His foes by removing the offense and welcoming them as friends. The enemy of God staggers in disbelief at the counterintuitive genius of his Creator's strategy (against which, there is no defense).

The resurrected Son addresses one and all: “Follow me,” is His invitation. “Turn from darkness and love the Light. Forgiveness, freedom, and eternal life are my gifts to those who will.” The Spirit draws the wicked to the welcoming arms of the Father through the finished work of the Son. All who are thirsty are encouraged to drink. Reunited with Life, they live. He makes His home within those who accept the invitation—A new way to be human. Once redeemed and in the process of being restored, He sends us out into a broken world as agents of healing, ministers of reconciliation, and ambassadors of His kingdom. We collectively proclaim/demonstrate His story through water baptism (at one's initiation into the family of God) and regular communal celebrations of the last supper (affirming the Son as the Bread of Life and remembering the cost at which salvation comes). For His good news is surely the power of God to save.

The Hero returns to Heaven to sit triumphantly beside His Father.  The countdown has begun. 

His mission becomes our mission
. The kingdom has come, and the King offers amnesty to all rebels who lay down their arms and accept His generous offer of citizenship (and adoption). The offer of pardons for unspeakable crimes is available for a limited time. He is patient, but He cannot wait forever. Soon He will return in force to punish the criminals and usurper and to claim His bride, the people of God. On that day, death will be swallowed up forever, and we will see Him face to face. Til then, He beckons us forward to the ends of the earth, until everyone has heard the story. 


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