Friday, May 31, 2013

The Garden of Eden of the North Atlantic

As the sun rose over Lambay Island in the Irish sea at 5:00 this morning, I was on my way to the airport to pick up my oldest sister, Tammy, her husband, and two teenage kids.  Only my brother-in-law, Philip, has been to Ireland before.  Ten years ago Juli and I helped organize an Irish tour for the Lubbock Christian University choir that he directs.  It is always a privilege to share this amazing city and amazing country with friends and family from back home.

Although I feel perfectly at ease in Dublin, I am constantly made aware that I'm not a local - people are always asking about my accent and where in the States I come from.  Ashlyn is beginning to pick up a bit of an Irish accent, but even she speaks a little differently than her classmates at preschool.  In a sense she's tri-lingual - some of her words sound Irish, some sound Oklahoman (thanks to Juli), and some sound English (thanks to British cartoons, like Peppa Pig). 

So the next week as the Smith family shares the best that the Irish have to offer with the Camp family, I'll have several opportunities to explain that though I may not be a local, I'm not a tourist either.  Along the way we hope to take in the Dublin coast,,, a castle or two, the Aran Islands,, the Cliffs of Moher,, the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, , Glendalough,, the Giant's Causeway and the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland,, and the fair city of Dublin itself,  Amidst all of that we'll be involved in worship with brothers and sisters in Christ and Bible studies with any and all who come along.  As a bonus, the weather is meant to be fantastic over the next few days.

So, for any of our friends and family back in the States, feel free to pop over sometime.  We'd love to share the garden of Eden of the North Atlantic with you too! - Shay

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finding our Place in the Story

There’s a cliché that states that “those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.”  Many clichés become clichés because they are true, and so it is with this one.  When we fail to grasp how we have arrived where we are, we will be less prepared to deal with the events over the next horizon.  However, when we have some semblance of where we’ve been, we will be better prepared to get to the place we’re going.

Referring to Israel’s history and its importance for the church, the apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.”   In fact, a helpful way of understanding the entire Bible is to see it as one big story – God’s story.  From Genesis 1:1 – Revelation 22:21 we see one unified, it not diverse narrative.  From creation to new creation is the story of God and his people.  

The Biblical scholar, NT Wright, sees the Bible as a 5 act drama which is still unfolding.  It began with the creation in Genesis 1-2 and then the next act of un-creation in Genesis 3-11.  At Genesis 12, God calls Abraham which flows into the third act, the people of Israel.  The gospels are the climax and 4th act of the narrative.  We are still living in act 5, the church.  In a sense we have a glimpse of the curtain call (the beginning of a new drama, perhaps), but we are presently living between the times in the midst of the fifth act.  We know where the plot has been and where it is going, so it is up to us to play our parts faithfully and remain true to the story.  Church history is the record of the story up to our day. 

All history is messy and church history in particular is quite messy.  However, just as the early church was instructed by Israel’s history (which was also quite messy), we should learn from those who have gone before us.  We will discover villains to be sure, but we will also learn about heroes of the faith and be further reminded that we are all standing on the shoulders of giants.  As we study the Bible and the continuation of that narrative, may God bless us with his Spirit as we find our place in the story.