Thursday, July 19, 2012

What's the story?

When I was a teenager growing up in the US, we used to say, "what's up?".  Joey from friends was famous for his, "how you doin'?" line.  Here in Dublin it's common to greet someone with a "what's the story?".  I like this phrase because we all are really living out a story.

The book of Genesis - the book of beginnings - tells the story of how the earth was created good but took a turn for the worse when humanity - all of humanity, not just two individuals living in a garden - decided to make themselves gods rather than honor the God of creation.  This good God didn't end the story there, thankfully, rather he called a man, Abraham, through whom he would ultimately bless the entire creation.  We read later in the story that from that man came a people and from that people, God himself became man.  The history of Israel, in fact, the history of the entire world - good, bad and ugly - was summed up in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.  With his resurrection, the pendulum of history has swung from old to new creation.  Resurrection life and new creation have already begun, but have not yet been brought to completion.  That's where we come into the story.
God invites us into this grand narrative -  a far larger, far better story than we could ever write for ourselves.  In fact, the story in many ways has already been written, but God gives us the freedom to take our place, our part in the narrative.  He doesn't force us to play any particular role and even within the parts we play, we are given enormous amounts of freedom to creatively write, so to speak.  Though the ending is secure, there's a lot of plot development still at work.  Martin Luther wrote, "This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise.  We are not yet what we shall be but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished but it is the road.  All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified."  What sort of story are you writing?  If your story isn't very compelling, Jesus Christ invites you to play a part in his. - Shay 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Good to be Back Home

The Smith family had a whirlwind trip to America during the month of June.  As we landed back in Ireland yesterday morning it felt as if we had been away for ages and yet the trip went by so fast!  I guess we packed in lots of memories in a short amount of time. 

One of the best things about getting back was the privilege we had of worshiping with the our North Dublin Christian Community a few hours ago.  Over 20 of us gathered for enchiladas (betcha didn't know you get those in Ireland), singing, prayer, study of God's word, and a meal with Jesus.  It was delightful.

And to make an encouraging homecoming even better, we received a phone call at midnight and learned that our dear friend Nada was to be baptized, so about 9 or 10 of us gathered on North Bull Island in Dublin Bay and witnessed Nada's new birth into Christ.  The clouds reflecting the glow of the city made for a beautiful backdrop and the lapping waves created a rhythmic background for our songs of praise.  So we're still up and it's nearly 2:30 AM, but it's sure good to be back home. - Shay