I’ve always loved a good story. And I don’t think I’m alone. Come to think of it, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love being swept up into a good storyline. Whether it’s your favorite book or memory, your favorite TV show or movie, you probably have a favorite story. In fact, hearing, creating, and passing on stories is part of what makes us human. We are story-telling creatures.
Our three kids remind me of this all the time. Of course, they don’t recognize it, but there’s a reason why our son grabs a lightsaber every time we watch Star Wars. Our latest discovery is the movie Moana, the story of a young girl who has to save her village and her island from an ancient evil. And in doing so, she realizes that she also has to remind her people who they are. In key parts of the movie, her ancestors sing, “We are explorers reading every sign / We tell the stories of our elders / In a never-ending chain … / We know the way” (go ahead and have a listen).
Here’s why that matters: when they forgot their story, they forgot who they were.
A few years ago I came across a quote that means a lot more to me now than it did then. When I read it I paused, pondered it, marked it in the text, typed it up in my notes… and then forgot about it. But when I came across it again a few weeks ago I realized just how closely my life had been shaped by the truth of that statement. Here it is: “I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story there is a story-teller” (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 4).
So what if I were to ask to you about your story. What would you tell me? Where would you start? What are your highlights? What would you leave out for now until we get to know each other a little better? What inspires you? Who is at the center of your story? How about this…
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)
Did you catch that? Everything—creation, the cross, the church--comes together in Jesus—by him, through him, for him, in him. He is God’s image, the firstborn, the creator, the head, the beginning, the peacemaker. As a Christian, I believe the most important part of our stories is to know where we stand in HIS story—to grow into it, to be shaped by it, to rejoice in it. To be a disciple of Christ we don’t need a new story, we need an old one. We need to step back and take a look at the Big Picture of the Bible. But before we dive into that story, let’s think about three big questions…