At TCIS I am currently serving on the Bible Curriculum Committee. Yipes, this is a daunting task. On this committee we are redesigning a new 6th through 12th grade Bible Curriculum for the school. Our discussion today centered upon designing a benchmark that communicates that the Bible message is not "A" meta-narrative but rather it is "THE" meta-narrative.
What is a meta-narrative? Good question. If you Google it you will find hundreds of attempts at defining "meta-narrative." For the sake of childlike simplicity I will define meta-narrative as-Big Story. There are lots of Big Stories these days that describe, define, guide and delineate the meaning of life.
As a Christian I believe that the Bible is not just another Big Story of the origin and meaning of life but rather I believe that it is "THE" story. At this point some of you are ready to launch into debate and discussion with me and some of you are saying, "So....?"
If I were reading this blog I would be a part of the "So....?" group. Personally I don't have the time nor do I have the intellect to philosophically joust over the issue of whether or not the Bible is "a" or "the" meta-narrative.
However I do have some thoughts.......(thus my blog title,................ Ryan's Ramblings)
If someone were to ask me, "What is the Big Story of the Bible?" I would answer that, "The Bible is the story of God's continual effort towards loving relationship with humankind." I believe that the deepest heart of God is realized in loving relationship and that God created humankind for relationship with Himself. God wants to have relationship with you and with me.
The antithesis of relationship is coercion. God will not force our love, worship or relationship with Him. He wants genuine relationship, thus he gives humankind freedom of choice. Throughout the Bible we see God reaching out, pursuing, and wooing his children unto Himself. The Bible is the story of One who will do nearly anything to draw His children into loving relationship.
In the Bible we see God using signs, prophets, miracles, calamity, even an entire nation of people to draw humankind unto Himself. Amidst the dust and grime of a Bethlehem stable the story of God takes an unexpected turn. God comes to earth to make the way for relationship with Him.
In the Story of God we see God's heart in His beloved son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus we see God reaching through the sin that separates Him from his children and making the ultimate sacrifice so that we all might have relationship with Him. At this point in the story I find myself considering the cross and as I scan the crowd of onlookers I see myself standing among them. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us."
He died so that I might live.
At the point of Jesus' death on the cross the Story of God dims towards blackness. Where is the hope? From the darkness of a tomb the light of hope and life bursts forth. Jesus has broken the chains of sin and death-making the way for unending life, hope and relationship with God...forever! At the point where it seems that the Story of God is coming to an end, in reality the story is just beginning.
God is still reaching out to you and me. He loves us and He wants to be in true relationship with us. He has given us His Word to hear and to know Him, He has given us the Holy Spirit for guidance and for power and He has given us one another-In our love and relationship with one another God is pleased and realized, in this we then become His hands and feet to the world around us.
The Story of God continues.....
It is the lens, the worldview, the context in which I live my life. This Big continuing Story is not realized in the university classroom or in the pews of a church. Rather, this Big Story is realized in my work, my leisure, my relationships, my spending, my words, my thoughts and my actions. This Big Story is realized in my every day life of joy and doubt and fear and anger. This Big Story plays out in the bleachers where I watch my child play baseball and in the doctor's office where I am confronted with report of cancer.
In the Big Story there is evil but there is also good. The good is God-the almighty creator of heaven and earth, the God of love who desires a rich relationship with His children.
At the end of the Bible, in the book of Revelation we get a sneak preview of the end of "this part" of the story. It reads,
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."
"And the one sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new!" And then he said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true." And he also said, "It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega-the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children."
......in other words, "They lived happily ever after."