Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Whole Story

This summer we took the kids to Disneyland. Long story but we had Disney passes last year when we lived in the Bay area and this was Hockey Boy’s 5th trip to Disneyland this year. The first four times we went he was not interested at all in the activity where the kids get to learn how to be a Jedi knight and fight Darth Vader with lightsabers. This last visit, he not only wanted to watch, but he was really excited to do the lesson and fight Vader. So when we got home, we decided, the older boys were ready to watch the original Star Wars movie. So one Saturday a few weeks ago we took them to Target to pick up the movie. I grabbed Star Wars IV which is the original movie from the 1970s and the real Star Wars I for the purists. The boys were terribly concerned that I had grabbed the wrong movie since they saw Star Wars I – III right there in line before Star Wars IV. And they like to do things in order. I had to explain to them the whole, movies 4, 5 6 came first and then you see 1, 2, 3. Not sure they totally got it but it was important to us that they see them in the same order we saw them. Because all 6 movies work together to tell a bigger story. Also, Episodes 1, 2 and 3 are way too scary and graphic for my kids at this point. Special effects really improved over the years.

The Bible is also ONE story made up of many episodes. Often we see the God of the Old Testament as just and the God of the New Testament as merciful, the God of the Old Testament is all about rules and regulations while the God of the New Testament is all about Grace. But the truth is that God is unchanging. The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God in the New Testament. What changed with Christ’s death and resurrection was how we are able to relate to God. We can now stand boldly at the feet of God, knowing that when he sees us, he sees Christ in us, making us clean and holy. Christ’s death and resurrection redeemed us but he was not changed. God’s working in the world through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is different over time, but God does not change. And as you can see in Acts 5, God still can dole out justice by striking down a “follower.” He did not change from Malachi to Matthew.

I think we often like to think of the Old Testament God as different from the New Testament God because we like to focus on God's grace, God's love. The Old Testament involves a lot of stories of God's judgment and we don't like to think about that part of God. We don't like to think about how unworthy we are in our natural, sinful states. But if we think of God as either only judging or only merciful, we are missing His Wholeness, His story. Yes, He will judge, but he loves us so much that He provided a redeemer, He provided grace. We are no longer unworthy, but are instead His children, highly valued and eternally loved. What could be better!

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