There are stories that subtly play in our heads. It tells us who we are, why we are where we are, and how the future can possibly turn out for us.
For some people, these stories are almost tragic narratives of being victims of time, chance, and the way things are in their own corners of the world. Stories that small workers tell each other at the next lay-off. Stories that abused women cry with during the night. Stories that indigenous people forcefully embrace after being thrown out of their lands.
Stories as such can be so powerful and disarming that it makes people cower in fear, resign in helplessness, and settle in a state of hopelessness. It makes us accept that injustices are indelible marks of society. It makes us believe that poverty is an irrevocable reality. It makes us agree that environmental degradation is the price we need to pay for progress and development. Not only that stories such as these dull our imagination, they also harden our heart and form in us apathy and indifference.
But the Bible opens to us a narrative that disrupts these stories. It tells us about a God on a mission to make a beautiful world wherein human beings and the rest of His creation alike can dwell together in peace and harmony. It tells us a story wherein every individual, regardless of gender, color, and social status, is wrapped with love, being made in God’s very image. It tells us a story of a happy ‘neighborology’ wherein every life is valuable and deserving of nurture, and every living thing is worth protecting. A most remarkable storyline against today’s headlines wherein we hear of a world slowly being ripped to shreds by disasters both man-made and not.
From the books of Genesis to Revelation, we see instead a God relentlessly pumping grace after grace even if all of His creation spirals out of the wonderful design He has for it. With human beings leading the drift towards defiance and the unhappy charge towards self-destruction. Tucked in every page, are images of a God who kept on choosing compassion over condemnation. And in the story of Jesus, we see a God stooping down at His lowest, being willing to see Himself crucified on a cross. To give us a vivid picture of how forgiveness and mercy is the antidote needed to cure a world being torn apart by forces of hatred and waves after waves of injustice. And as Jesus rose back to life, we are shown that this is a story wherein it shall ever be that love shall eventually win.
Today, God continues to stage a live performance of this daunting drama whenever people called by His name live lives that celebrate justice, sings of mercy, and does it in a gentle spirit of humility. Together, as the church that Jesus has built, they show that love is true and that grace is life-changing. They are driven by a most joyous portrait of everything set apart being put together again and everyone kept apart happily reconciled to each other. With God Himself moving into the neighborhood to share in a most intimate community birthed in His heart from the very beginning.
Inviting the world to experience how this story works out in reality is the life the church is called to live today.
-Rei Lemuel Crizaldo, Advocacy Coordinator for Integral Mission of MICAH Philippines
This article is part of a series written by various authors after a Christian Writing for Advocacy Workshop organised by Micah Global, Malaysian CARE, and CTI in mid-2019.
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