The Great Story

(A spoken word for 11:07 Christmas Eve service, Shalimar UMC)

In the beginning.
In the beginning, God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was with God.
In the beginning God created.
Nothing was created that wasn’t created through the Word.
God spoke: “Let there be.” BANG…BIG BANG!
Let there be light, heavens, earth, creatures, and the crowning creatures, humans, with whom He would share His crowns. And He saw that it was good.

Life in the Garden in Paradise, but one day Paradise was not as nice, because a snake was in the grass, there to harass there to deceive Eve and the man. Lies, deception, choice, rebellion. Cursed is the woman, the serpent shall bite. But cursed is the snake, because the woman’s seed shall smite. The Word will become Seed and fall into the earth. One day…

Kicked out and forbidden but not out of anger, out of protection. God didn’t want them to be cursed forever. They ate of one tree; the other would be saved until a new day.

Anger begat hate, and hatred violence. God could not simply sit there and keep silent. He had to do something, but not utter destruction. Almost, but not quite, because His plan was salvation. Always salvation, redemption, and mercy. A second chance for Noah, for Abraham, for all the nations through one man.

Contracts won’t do, a covenant was cut – blood spilled, promises made, life for life, death for death. God is faithful, always faithful, always faithful.

The people grew. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Twelve.  Joseph’s own brothers would end up selling him into slavery in Egypt but favor would cause the humble alien to be exalted. Too exalted, too numerous. A pharaoh rose who knew him not. They must be oppressed or else.

After hundreds of years, God broke the silence. He spoke to Moses through a bush that defied science. “Let my people go.” Freedom is never free. There must be blood, paid penalty. Death passed over by the blood of the lamb to deliver God’s people out of Egypt land.

Promised Land into the desert at the foot of a mountain to receive a new Law for a new life, because how are slaves supposed to know how to act free? New behavior, new character, first on tablets of stone, then on the heart. Forty years is a long…start.

Enter the Promised Land. Enjoy the goodness of God. Forget it came from God. Rebellion has an age-old name: Sin.

God raises up Judges.
Sin – Judgment – Repentance – Forgiveness – Repeat

Eventually the people ask for a king. First the people’s choice, then the shepherd boy, then his son whose splendor would be his undoing. If only we could get back that shepherd king. One day…

Prophets speak truth in a world full of lies. The kingdom of Israel divides after Solomon dies. Civil war, and capture, destruction and exile, some places rebuilt others defiled by pagans, how long, Lord must we be punished?

Silence.

The Romans appoint King Herod to rule over the province of Judea where the Jews are. God breaks the silence. One angel, two creatures: one male, one female.
In the image of God He created them. And the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and you are to give Him the name.
The Word, the Word that broke the silence. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Tabernacled, lived, pitched His tent, hung out, chilled, ate with sinners. Thanks be to God.

Born in a manger, the first king-sized bed, first would be hay then thorns on His head. The baby, you see, was born to die, but not before the world would see heaven and earth collide. One hundred percent God, one hundred percent man, He would be the beginning of God’s renovation plan. New heaven and new earth, no more death, no more tears. His time on the cross would not end in fear. Not end in defeat nor the triumph of the enemy, but on the third day He would rise in victory…

Over sin, over hell, over death and the grave, over weakness, corruption, destruction, and decay, over evil and violence, hurt and despair, He would go back to His Father our place to prepare for the day when ALL things would be made new. New heaven, new earth, new me and new you, when finally forever God and humans would live…

In the place we were meant to never have to forgive. A Garden city, not the first but the last, all things are made new, the old things are past. That other tree is now the only one. We can eat all we want in the Light of the Son.

So Christmas and Easter, Easter and Christmas, listen to The Great Story, because you’re not gonna want to miss this. Are you wondering where your story fits into His? Or are you willing to listen to what He says the story is?

Look for the intersection between the seen and unseen, earth and heaven, natural and supernatural, God and man…

Because it came one night in a manger to land

The first Word shall be the last.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Immanuel, God…was…is…always will be…with…us.

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