Tuesday, July 17, 2012

St Luke’s – The BIG Story of the Bible

Despite the church existing in a postmodern context suspicious of any big story out of which ultimate truth can be found or meaning in regards to our own stories; at St Luke’s we are convinced that the BIG Story of the Bible is an overarching story of truth in which we make sense of all of life’s sub stories.

Our conviction is that the bible tells us the true history of God at work in the world. Not like a technical history book, as modern science would understand history to be, but in a mixture of historical stories, poems, songs, pithy sayings, occasional letters and various other genres.

To simplify it, the story tracks through six main acts...


We’re living in act 5 where God, while at work everywhere in all sorts of ways, is working in the world through the church. The church is to live out the BIG Story of the Bible as faithful followers of Christ, walking the Way of Jesus and existing as a living representation of Christ in the world. The church is to continue God’s reconciling and restorative work in the world, looking forward to the return of Jesus and God renewing all things.
Leslie Newbigin asks...
How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? What is the most effective vehicle through which a scandalous gospel can be communicated so that it is credible?
He answers...
I am suggesting that the only answer, the only way to explain the gospel, is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it. No amount of brilliant argument can make it sound reasonable to the inhabitants of the reigning plausibility structure. That is why I am suggesting that the only possible explanation of the gospel is a congregation which believes it.[1]

The BIG Story of the Bible, the Gospel of Jesus, isn’t an add on addition that will give us a head start in our race to live the dream of a nice house, a nice job, a nice car, nice holidays, and a nice life.  Rather, the gospel has the potential to totally undo our pursuit of all and everything that might be considered ‘living the dream’ and offers us a different way of living, a different understanding of what really matters in life, it offers us a different dream.

In living life in the light of the BIG Story of the Bible, one of our challenges is to do the best we can to properly exegete both the bible and our 21st Century post-modern culture. What does the bible teach here? What’s going on in our world here? What happens when we bring these two things together? We want to live in the light of God’s word and its intent and meaning to the original readers, totally committed to the reality that it has meaning and truth for us today.

The bible offers us a grand-narrative of God at work throughout history. In truth it tells us that history is indeed HIStory; a meaningful story originating in love and purpose that is heading towards a beautiful mind-blowing conclusion. We want to live in the light of this story. The life giving, transformational, challenging, inviting, moving, all encompassing, subversive, counter intuitive, upside-down, passionate story of God’s love and plan for His creation.

At times understanding this big story and understanding the smaller stories found in the Bible seems straightforward and common sense. On other occasions it’s not so easy.

At times it is easy to embrace the challenges of Jesus’ teaching. On other occasions, like it was for the disciples, so easy to miss the point.

At times God’s word seems life changing and refreshing. On other occasions it seems dry and difficult to swallow.

In all of this we’re committed to gathering around God’s word each Sunday and to allowing it to transform our lives.

The Story is counter culture to the Western story of individualism, self made success, consumerism, materialism, self gratification etc. Lay down your life, take up your cross, don’t worry about clothes you wear, two jackets give it to the person who has none, food, give it to those that don’t have food, you that are rich in this age, give more.

The Story that isn’t content to leave people where they are at, is content to avoid risking upsetting or interrupting someone’s life, but a story that actually turns someone’s life upside down, calls and sends them.

At St Luke’s were committed to the ongoing process of getting lost and found in the BIG  Story of God.

[1] Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 227-232.

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