I am constantly finding myself enraptured and carried away by engaging stories. Sometimes these are in books, other times in TV shows or movies, and sometimes in a news story on NPR. NPR actually has a phrase for these types of stories, they call them “driveway moments”—stories so engaging that you just want to sit in your car and listen through to the end. But more than simply through engaging stories, I believe that the mark of a good story is one that I can keep coming back to and every time adds new depth.
I have read many a story, watched numerous TV shows and movies, but there is still one story that I always come back to. A story that I believe stands above all others, a story that has shaped more of who I am than any other that I have encountered to date. It is the story of scripture. This may seem a bit on the nose, but I am not referring to a single story or parable, nor to a chapter or book and not even to one of the testaments. The story of scripture contains within it the entirety of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, from the Creation to the end times. It is a four-fold story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Re-Creation. It is a story that is not just meant for me, or to be understood alone; but the story of scripture is meant to be shared in community.
In Creation we find our beginnings, our understanding of who we are, and in whose image we are formed. The Fall teaches us why we are in our current state, and why we appear so far removed from God. Between the Fall and the Redemption lies a constant state of waiting, a longing anticipation of a day that seems to never come. The Redemption is where the hope for the world and for creation comes. This is the time of Christ, the time when he came to Earth to Redeem the fallen world and give the world hope and a fulfillment of a covenant made long ago. Christ’s redemption of the world points us to the final part of the story, the Re-Creation.
In most stories, this is where it would end. The hero has saved everyone, the villain is defeated, everything is good again. But this is not where the story of scripture ends. In Re-creation, Christ will return once again and join together heaven and earth making all things new. But here’s the thing, this part of the story hasn’t happened yet, the ending to the story of scripture is still being written. We are right now at this very moment living in and writing this story. Just like the people of the Old Testament were waiting for the Messiah, Christ, to arrive, we too are now waiting for Christ to return.
While in most stories I consume, I do just that. There’s usually never a way for me to interact with and live out the stories that I listen to or do anything more than listen to or read. The story of scripture is a story that I am able to add to and write a small part of myself. While I most likely will never even get a line written down in a book for generations to enjoy, I know that my small part matters, that everyone’s small part matters. No addition to the story of scripture is insignificant or meaningless, and to me that makes the story of scripture the most life-changing story ever to be told.
JJ Simpson is 32 years old and enjoys reading good stories and listening to music. In his downtime you can find him enjoying a cup of coffee, learning a new song on guitar, or trying to get his motorcycle running. On occasion you can find him playing guitar on Sunday mornings at Imago.