Once Upon A Time, In Washington
Those in Washington are familiar with competing narratives. But what about our role and participation in God's story?
Everyone loves a good story, and Washington is a city that deals in stories.
The problem is, in Washington, there are multiple stories in conflict with one another. Take for example, the conservative story that seeks to ‘Make America Great Again’ and the progressive story that aspires to ‘Build Back Better.’ There are stories centering on our personal freedoms, constitutional rights, and our civil liberties. There are conflicting foreign policy stories, environmental stories, and economic stories.
Increasingly, there is another story coming out of Washington, or perhaps it’s a story about Washington. This story says that you shouldn’t believe everything you read. It’s either fake news or the stories are meant to manipulate us.
This leaves us wondering what story to believe.
Worse yet, in our postmodern, post-Christian society, we have disconnected story and meaning. As a result, we are left with the huge task of providing our own meaning and value to our lives. But that reality is not so new. As Ecclesiastes famously states,
“There is nothing new under the sun.”
During an exchange in ‘the greatest story ever told,’ in the midst of the interrogation of Jesus by Roman Governor Pontius Pilate, the following occurred,
Jesus said, “For this purpose, I was born and for this purpose, I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
And so it goes.
One of the reasons people love stories is that God loves story. And in the story God is telling, the narrative conveys the Truth.
As Christians, we believe that we are all a part of God’s unfolding gospel story of His process of redeeming His creation and renewing all things. Our story includes our rebellion against God that flows out of our desire to replace God with ourselves as the chief determiner of value, morality, and flourishing.
Our story also includes God’s continued pursuit to bring us into a relationship with him. This is the relationship for which we were made. It is a relationship not of drudgery but of joy; a relationship that does not stifle our existence, creativity, relationships, or vocations, but gives us meaning and encourages us to flourish.
The Apostle Paul wrote,
“That they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for,“ ‘In him, we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.”
Paul was inviting the philosophers and intelligentsia of Athens to recognize the story God was telling, to realize their place in that story, and to reorient their lives to participate in that story. God’s story is a wonderful story because it is primarily about his love for us!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.”
This is a true story for Washington, D.C. and for you.
Rev. Michael Langer is the Associate Director for the D.C. ministry.