Monday, September 15, 2014

Between the Lines

In the beginning . . . (Genesis 1:1)

This past Saturday morning my son had to be at school at 6:30 a.m. to catch a bus for a cross country meet at Wesleyan School.

This in itself is nothing new for us. He’s been running cross country for several seasons now. There have been earlier buses to catch. But in the past those early buses have also meant that Dad gets up, wakes up son, and makes the drive to school to deliver said son to the bus on time.

Things were different this past Saturday. My son got himself out of bed at 6:00 a.m. and drove himself to school to get on the bus – and he made it on time. There is indeed a God in heaven.

Cross country is really not designed to be a spectator sport. You can’t find a good seat and watch the game. Most cross country courses take the athletes out of sight for a while. There they exhibit their skills to no one in particular, the cheering voices fade, they suffer alone.

When I arrived at Wesleyan, dew still heavy on the ground, two key points of their cross country course were very clearly marked and easy to find: the starting line, and the finish lines. Hard-to-miss signs with large red letters marked the place where things would begin and end. As for the miles that lay between those two clearly marked points, that wasn’t so clear to me.

After a while, and with some help from others, I found a couple of places where I could stand and see the runners pass by a couple of times. But I never truly saw the terrain, the lay of the land, the inclines that caused pain or the turns that might have slowed them down.

Far too many people come to the Bible the way I come to a cross country meet. They know that Genesis is the start line (sadly, because of heated debates about creation). They also know that Revelation is the finish line (sadly, because of bad movies or bizarre end-of-world predictions).

Between the clearly marked start and finish there might be a couple of places where they find to stand – the Christmas story is usually one, and maybe the twenty-third Psalm that gets read at funerals. What they never really see is the terrain that lies between the finish and the start.

As with cross country, so with scripture. The real action happens between the lines.

For the next couple of months these daily reflections will be aimed at getting you familiar with the lay of the land, the terrain of scripture that lies between the lines. We will do this by discovering the singular story the Bible tells.

Plenty of people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling us how God expects us to behave. It is not. Others regard the Bible highly as great literature, and while it has literary features, it is not merely literature. The Bible tells a story – and knowing the Bible’s story allows us to make sense of our own story. Don’t be content to be a spectator with the Bible. The God who made you is inviting you to discover his story and find your place in it.

Ready. Set. Go.

Gracious God, we’ve spent too much time being confused spectators when it comes to your story. We’ve been satisfied with isolated scenes here and there, not knowing the terrain of your ways in this world. We invite you in these days to guide us into the fullness of your story, that we might better understand our own. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.

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