I have wanted to write a storybook Bible for teens and adults for several years now and I’m hoping this period of isolation will provide the time to work on it as I am free of “the tyranny of the urgent.” I pray that this gives you some hope and connection during this crazy time.
The Living God comes to us as we immerse ourselves in the story of how he has worked in and through humanity to restore the world to the goodness of the beginning. He comes to us and transforms us so that he can work through us to restore that goodness. But the Bible is hard book to read, and it’s so irrelevant to the world we live in.
“In the beginning…” I think we lose too many people right there. Maybe “the beginning” isn’t the best place to start.
The Bible is the story of a people who live in a state of exile. While at any given time, there are millions who truly understand what means, for most of us, it’s a concept beyond us. Or it was, until the era of social distancing.
This idea that we cannot return to normal, for some indefinite period of time, is as close as many of us will come (we hope) to understanding Exile. While we are stuck at home, exile is about not being able to return home.
The Bible is the story of a people who live in exile, to help us understand the separation between heaven and earth. The people, the Israelites/Hebrews/Jews, represent all of us and our exile from the presence of God.
Someday soon, there will be a movie about COVID-19. That movie will not just be two hours of news clips, it will likely tell the story from a single person’s perspective. We will learn about what that person’s “normal” was before, then the bulk of the story will take place during the period of “social distancing,” the main character will either get sick, or be a caretaker for someone who is and then the crisis will pass and the movie will end.
I like to think of the Bible, well the narrative or main storyline of the Bible, as a movie that’s based on a true story. Some characters may have been combined or created for storytelling purposes, dialogue dramatized, and events embellished. This may offend many, but I also believe that God is the one telling the story. It’s less about a history of a people and more about the story God is wanting to tell us because God wants to evoke a response in us.
While a lot of great movies are purely for entertainment, there are many that have an agenda and hope to cause us to change our mindset and behavior.
God’s story has an agenda. Sometimes when we focus so much on the details and proving “truth” we miss the purpose of the story. God is on a mission and this story is an invitation to all to join that mission.
That mission is to put an end to the spiritual distancing that went into effect as a result of sin and it is told through the lens of a particular family.