Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And the Lord Said....

I had an idea for our fall Worship night to try to retell the story of Scripture from the perspective of God speaking. I wanted to focus on key points in the biblical story when God spoke…

In any case, Steve (the worship leader for the night) liked it and we started working on it. The night will revolve around a number of “narratives” where either God is speaking or fictional characters are responding. I had the fortune of writing the first drafts, and even though they required some pretty heavy revising and rewriting by me and Steve, below is the “final” draft:

And the Lord Said… God’s Story of Hope

Act 1: The Beginning His Word Revealed

God speaking:
In the beginning, God Spoke and the story of life began.

For the first time ever, my creation, though only moments old, is enjoying life. Small creatures dart through the grass, the trees sway to the power of the wind, the air is thick with the sweet smells of flowers, the birds have stretched out their wings and soared higher than mountains, the horses charge through the fields worshipping me with their speed. My creation sings with one voice, glorifying me and enjoying the life that I have given. The story of this world has begun, and a wonderful story it is.

Genesis 1:31 God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!

Act 2: The Promise His Plan Revealed

God speaking:
The story has only begun, and already the crown of my creation has forgotten me. They have rejected their Creator for created things, and yet… I love them. I have not given up on them, I have a plan to remind them of who their God is. I will make a great nation for my name’s sake, a people who will love me and know me. I will poor out my love and blessing on these people, and I will give them my law so that they can honor me. I will be with them and they will worship me. And all the nations will see how blessed and glorious they are because of me, and they will be drawn to glorify and know me. All the people of the world will gather with the children of Abraham to worship the God of Israel.

Character Responses:
In the time of Abraham
I was Abram, son of Terah, I am now Abraham God’s chosen servant. I had wealth, land, and status, but my God had something greater in store for me: a part to play in his story. He called me to leave my people and travel to a land he would show me. He promised to make my family a great nation, a beacon to the world of God’s mercy and love. Yet, I am old and have no heirs. God said go, so I went, but the land is full of evil. I cannot see how God’s promise will be fulfilled. Still…. my hope is in God.

In the time of David
My God is truly glorious. He has made his nation great, he has defeated our enemies, given us wealth, land, glory, and honor. His glorious king David sits on the throne, and God promises that his son will build us a temple that will be worthy of His name. Our generation is blessed to know the fullness of God’s promise; we live in our promised land, something our forefathers only longed for from a far. Israel is great, God’s covenant is here, and the nation has faith. The people are blessed beyond all measure, our hope is in God.

In the time of Daniel
All seems lost. We had blessing and lived in the covenant, but we forgot our God and turned to idols and sinful pleasures. Our shepherd’s led their people astray. God had a plan for us, and all we had to do was trust in him. But we didn’t, and now the land is desecrated, the temple and city are in ruins, and the nation is scattered. Israel has fallen, her enemies have triumphed, and our glory is ruined.

It is in this darkness that I am beginning to actually listen to God. Even in the days of Abraham God’s promise was about something more than a mere city. God’s plan always pointed to a Messiah who would save us, not just from our enemies but from our sin and pride. Perhaps God blessed Israel not so that we could just be a great nation, but so that all would bow their knee to him. Our glory was lost, but my hope is in God.

Hebrews 8:6-12 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:
The time is coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

Act 3: Immanuel His Son Revealed

God speaking:
This was the plan. It always was. Even as I formed you, my children, I knew my Son would have to come. When I sent my servant Abraham to the promised land I saw the advent of the Promised One. When Isaac was conceived, and Jacob was born, I saw my beloved in Mary’s womb. When I drew my people out of Egypt and raised up my servant David, I saw him nailed to the tree. I saw how he would fulfill my promise. He is the Promise. The eternal Word. Born to deliver my people, not from the bondage of any nation, but from the bondage of sin. The Messiah! Greater than Abraham, Moses, David, and the Prophets. The Great High Priest. Mighty King. Lamb of God. My Son. It is our will that he be crushed.

John 19:30 It is Finished

Act 4: The New Beginning His Kingdom Come

A new voice
It is finished. All you who are weary, all you who have heavy burdens, know me! Look at my hands. Feel my side. I am risen! Death is conquered! The promise has been fulfilled. You have wept because of your sins and you have wept because of my love. It is good that you remember the cross, but do not mourn as one who does not know. Let your sorrow pass and receive our forgiveness completely. You have crossed from death to life.

Now is a new beginning, a new chapter in the story of our creation. You are now children of the Most High. You are my brothers and sisters. Rejoice! For I am with you today, and will never leave you. We have much work to do, you and I.

Rejoice! Your King has triumphed. His Kingdom has come. The end is near, and the wedding feast is about to begin. But listen. Once again all creation sings in one mighty melody; my Holy Angels lift their voices; join them. Worship your King.

Rev. 5:11-14 11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!" 14The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Revelation 21:1-8 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6 And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

Acts 1:7-8 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

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