Contributed by Patrick O’Neal
Minister, Muscatine Church of Christ (MCOC)
When is the last time you read the Bible?
I remember one of my first times. Sitting in a Tennessee jail trying to make sense of it all, I quickly came to realize that it doesn’t read straight through like a book. Events are out of order. Whole books are repeated. It’s a mixed bag of genres. And of course, there are some things that just don’t seem to fit. I imagine that many of you want to read the Bible, but when you pick it up, you’re like I was five years ago – lost at how to make sense of this hodge-podge, scrap-booked-together document that Christians have revered for so long.
It came into being by the hands of multiple people over many years. It’s their stories. It’s the stories of their peoples. It’s the stories of life and death – of winning and losing – of happiness and heartache – of pleasure and pain. It’s the stories that kept history alive. It’s the story of human beginnings. But beyond humanity, beyond our story, this book tells God’s Story.
In 400 words I can’t explain it all (and to be honest with infinite words I still couldn’t), but I want to tell you how God’s Story starts. The first words of the Bible say, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” There’s no how or why; just that God chose to create. Then, in a beautiful poem the Hebrew writer describes God’s making of order from chaos. Each “day” building on the last escalating towards a climax – the creation of human beings. God’s crowning achievement. God’s true passion. The only thing God calls “very good.”
God loves humanity. God has a purpose for humanity. God walks and talks with these first humans. God wants to be in relationship with them – God enjoys being in relationship with them. Eventually, however, they mess it up. God has every right to wipe the human race out completely – to scratch the whole thing and say good riddance, but that’s not what happens. Instead, God spends the rest of this Story trying to rebuild the broken relationship – the severed relationship that exists between you and your Creator.
God loves you. God sees you as beautiful. God has a purpose for you, and most of all, God wants to restore that relationship. Do you want to hear more of God’s Story?
I love you and God loves you!