Monday, December 05, 2005

Reflections on the Story and the Teller

Sometimes I forget that Job and Melkizedek, Plato and Aristotle, Lewis and Tolkien, Da Vinci and Durer, my brother and my sister, my room-mate and the janitor are all charecters in the same grand story. His story, history. There are villains and heroes, minor characters and bystanders. There are repeated symbols and themes. There is a beginning, middle and end. We are somewhere in the midst of the second half. There is a grand story, with it's major characters, which is written in a specific way, all events and turns leading to it's ultimate conclusion. This story, while remaining a story is composed of many stories, thousands of millions. Stories of Cultures, of Nations, of peoples, of families, and of individual people. There are many comedies and tragedies through out this, but ultimately the story as a whole is a comedy, a happy ending where the lovers get married. Like in Shakespearian comedies, it ends in a wedding. One way this story written and spoken by God is unique from stories men write, (apart from the obvious benefit of being real and true), is that in this story the characters who are in the story and whose stories are written by God, actually have a relationship with the Author. The Author is actually also one of the main characters. He himself entered the story, and came into his story to move it along, to 'act' out as it were a crucial role in the story, in the play. Jesus is fully a man, a creation, a character written by God, but he is also fully God, fully the author and finisher of our faith and of our story. It is a story, but it is not merely read in books (though it is), it is a play of sorts, in which all of us are 'actors' "all the worlds a stage" as Shakespeare said. But unlike our plays, this grand play is also true and real, when people die they die, when you see someone crying they are actually sad. And unlike actors in our plays, we don't always have a literal script, we have to make decisions, in that way it seems we help write the story, we join the dance.

Stories are most about how people interact with and relate to one another. It is not surprising then, that God, who created the world for the characters and stories he would weave, while being one God, is more then one, he is many. He is the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is a community, a Perichoresis of Love as theologians have said. Perichoresis means something like a 'dancing around' (you can see the root for choreography) It takes a loving, speaking community that converses with each other to write stories which are about the relations between characters.

It is interesting, that in addition too the stories that are our lives, we also have a storybook that contains a summary of the whole story and the most important stories in his story. In it we find the begining and the middle and the end spelled out for us, we are told what our role is and what our relationship to the other characters should be; who the main villian is; how we are redeemed and saved when we are villains; what the story, history, means; and instuctions on how we should 'act'.

It was Doug Wilson, Doug Jones, and Peter Leithart, Brian Godawa, C S Lewis, and J R R Tolkien who first opened my eyes to these things, and I thank them for it.


Blogger Carrie said...

YES! I so identify with the wonder expressed in that post. After reading Swindoll's "David" it struck me that in all of history --God is the best story teller -- who is, coincidentally, writing history. =) It's very beautiful once you stop and consider how intricately the stories are woven.

I love it.

12/06/2005 8:28 AM  
Blogger John Jackson said...

Well put Stephen.

12/06/2005 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Melody Joy said...

Wow, Stephen, you have such a way with words. I have thought similar thoughts, (especially after reading "Mere Christianity"), but would never be able to write them out like that. It reminds me a little of the scene from "Prince of Egypt" about the beautiful tapestry that God is weaving from all of our lives. For now only He can see the whole design...but one day we will see clearly!

12/07/2005 2:26 PM  
Blogger Stejahen said...

Melody, that's funny that you mention that song, I love Prince of Egypt! I'll have to look the lyrics up online.

12/08/2005 10:29 PM  

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