Vol 1:38 Who is the Main Character in Our Stories

Over the past few weeks I have been reflecting on how we tell our stories. This grew out of my serving as a reader of a D.Min. Thesis of a former student of mine. Her focus was upon helping people find new pathways into Scripture. In the dialogue that always ensues in orals, a comment was made about the telling of our stories – we need to learn to tell our stories with God being the main character.

Now that may seem like an odd comment, because we all know that we are the subjects of our own stories. Our stories are about life as it happens to us, even our experiences of God, and we tell our stories through our perspective. These are our stories; this is my story.

However, I am finding this is to be a myopic perspective. None of our stories are just centered in us. The life of the world is not centered around us – our stories involve events and experiences, our stories engage others in which we are not the only character. Life happens to us, not in isolation, but in relationship, in community with a world of others. Though we tell these stories from our perspectives, we are not always the main character.

This has relevance, especially for those of us who desire to live missionally – participating with God in God’s mission of making all things new. The first thing I realize in participating with God in God’s mission is that God has a Story and Vision of what God purposes to do in the world. God is the initiator of the Story and God moves this Story to its Vision – Scripture is this story (which is why I often refer to Scripture as God’s Story and Vision).

The second thing I realize is that our stories are not just about what we did last weekend, or what we are planning to do next weekend, rather our stories chronicle our journeys through life – what we encounter, the meanings of those encounters, new insights, transformations we undergo, the purpose or vision that drives our living – this is the real story of who and why we are.

The third thing I realize is that God invites us into the Story that God has enacted and is enacting. Scripture gives account of God’s Story and Vision. It is a Story that involves each one of us – it is a story of our brokenness, our alienation from God and from others, it is a story about God reaching out to us in order to heal us, to set us free, to liberate us from the power of sin and death, to reconcile us to God and to one another, to establish us as a new humanity. Scripture, in essence, becomes our family album – sharing the Story that has gone on long ago – that now provides the vocabulary and direction for our own stories.

The fourth thing I realize is that in and through Jesus we are caught up in God’s Story and Vision for the redemption of humanity and the renewing of creation. If we find the words to tell this story that is rooted in the Story, Life, and Vision of God, we come to discover that God is actually the main character in our stories because we have a story because God liberates us by including us into the story that God is enacting.

Perhaps, baptism is that act that changes who the main subject is in our stories – before our baptisms, we are content with being the main character in our stories, but in baptism, in making confession of belonging to Christ, in giving our allegiance to Christ Jesus, we are raised up out of the waters identifying a new main character in our lives. The central character in our life becomes God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Spirit of God who are the shapers and sustainers of the ongoing Story and Vision of God through our lives. This is so because now we are no longer living for ourselves, but as a new creation, as a new community, we live our lives being a sign of God’s presence in the world, a foretaste of what human life is lived under God’s rule, as well as being instruments for living out the present reality of God’s will in the world. In God becoming the main character in our stories, we do not lose ourselves, rather we find ourselves in ways we could never have imagined. It is only as God is the main character in my life, that my living is no longer limited by what I am able to do, but I am set free to accomplish the things that God chooses to do through me in my participating with God in making all things new.

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