September 9, 2009 Last Sunday we completed our summer-long series, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Bible: The Whole Story in Ten Weeks. It has been an informative trip but more than merely informational. Somehow, through the twists and turns of the long story, we found ourselves invited in.
And that is how Chris concluded the series this past weekend: with an invitation to participate, to know the story we are part of, to know the personal God that speaks to us through the story, and to live and work and hope accordingly.
Listening to Chris’ words last Sunday -- and his frequent CS Lewis references (Lewis is our patron saint) -- reminded me of one of my favorite Lewis quotes. Lewis was once speaking of the nature of the Biblical story and how it works. Instead of a story that converges with other ideas and opinions into some kind of bland homogenized ideal, the Christian story, he said, reveals the essence of life by a process of separation and clarification. In other words, the Bible reveals truth by something akin to “this, not that”. Over and over again, we are shown what to embrace and what to reject, what to say yes to, and what to say no to, always in search of the truest life. Lewis’ memorable line was this:
"The whole thing narrows and narrows, until at last it comes down to a little point, small as the point of a spear— a Jewish girl at her prayers." (CS Lewis, The Grand Miracle)
By this Lewis meant that the whole long story of Israel was a process of making clear what was not yet understood, that God himself would become one with us in the person of Jesus. But this does not mean that we are mere spectators, for he chooses to do this through the faith and obedience of Mary, this “Jewish girl at her prayers”.
I would suggest that this critical “hinge-point” (you can find it in Luke 1) is a good place for us to conclude our summer reflections on the story of the Bible. Although Mary neither initiates nor controls, she does respond to what she is invited to, and she does make it personal. And, once invited, she becomes the model of faith, saying “yes” to God: “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). This “young Jewish girl at her prayers” is heir to a very long story indeed, but also stands as a model of how each of us are invited into this story, the story of God and his love for all people.
Those are my thoughts,
See you this Sunday at launch weekend. We are serving free breakfast after the 9:29 celebration and free BBQ after the 11:11.