This past Sunday, when pondering how to apply to our lives what was happening in John 12 (along with Isaiah), Dan compared the story of Bible to a five act play in which we are participants. Creation is the opening act. Act two is the Fall. The third act is redemption. The fifth act is the promised consummation which we live in anticipation of. The fourth act is what we live in right now. In light of what has happened before this act and what we know will happen in the future, we are left to improvise. Thankfully, we are not left to our own wits to accomplish this. The author’s very spirit—the Holy Spirit—has been given to us in order to direct our performance.
So often we think of our personal narratives—the story of our life—as an isolated story that may happen to intersect with other individuals but isn’t intrinsically connected to them. With this mindset, we often try to apply the Bible by seeing what advice or criticism it can offer to our personal story. Dan’s metaphor challenges this mentality. Instead of bringing the Bible into our own personal narrative, it calls for us to be drawn into the Bible’s narrative (instead of it being drawn into ours). This is one of the reasons that we will be focusing on “putting it together” on our winter retreat.
In a book called The Drama of Scripture it is argued that it is only when we “discover a great and more basic story” that our lives, as individuals, “will take on new significance as parts of one whole life lived together in God’s story. As we enter deeply into the story of the Bible, God will be revealed to us. We will also find ourselves called to share in the mission of God and his purposes with the creation.”
“[The Bible] functions as the authoritative Word of god for us when it becomes the one basic story through which we understand our own experience and thought, and the foundation upon which we base our decisions and our actions. In other words, the Bible provides us with the basic story that we need in order to understand our world and to live in it as God’s people…There thus is a lot at stake in how we understand the Bible to be speaking to us. If we view it as a single unfolding story, it can be tremendously exciting. Such a story invites us—compels us—to get involved…”
Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen, The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (Baker Academic, 2004), p21-22.