Story Explains & Inspires
While I don't remember the first fantasy novel my dad handed to me, that's mostly due to how many dozens (if not hundreds) I devoured growing up. I vividly remember (in 4th or 5th grade) standing up the textbook we were supposed to be reading on my desk, and stealthily opening my new copy of The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis behind it's protective screen. I remember it so well because, as it turns out, I was not half as ninja-like as I imagined and it was confiscated by my teacher just a few minutes later.
These stories resonated with my reality and infused my life with meaning: I wasn't just going to school, I was training for a life of honor, righting wrongs and protecting the weak. They had powerful implications on my life. They shaped and directed my hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Thus, it wouldn't be surprising to anyone who knows me that prior to becoming a pastor, my career path was exclusively and passionately directed toward becoming a Special Agent in one of several federal law enforcement agencies (as close to a real life modern knight as I could get). It is fact and not pride (ok, maybe a little), that I likely had the single most impressive resume of anyone graduating college and starting a career in that field.
Human beings are not computers. We do not fundamentally understand life and the world around us in terms of data, but in, as and through story. We cannot help but resonate with stories that both explain our reality and inspire our hopes. One reason why I so easily dismissed Christianity for most of my life was because almost every Christian I had met reduced the incredible true story of Jesus to a bullet-pointed list of mere doctrines that you had to believe in order to be "in" with God (never mind that God is the one who pursues us!). What I hadn't heard or experienced until after becoming a Christian, is how powerfully the true story of Jesus both explains my experience of reality and inspires my hopes.. far more even, than Arthur and his knights or Bilbo and his Fellowship.
Story Resonates & Transforms
On Easter, we'll wrap up our Cross & Crown sermon series with the climax of Jesus' resurrection. Although the Gospel of Mark ends almost immediately on that point, there is so much of that story left to tell. After His resurrection, Jesus shows his disciples that this is not the end of the story, but the re-beginning of the same true story God has been authoring since before time and cosmos began. It's not a man-made myth that resonates with our experience (though it does!), it's the redemptive history of humanity that transforms how we experience God, reality, and our part of the unwritten story to which we've been invited.
In other words, this epilogue to the resurrection story is the introduction to our life's story.
Over the 6 weeks between Easter and Memorial Day, we will dive into these stories and explore how they explain, resonate, inspire and transform our story. If, like me, you grew up more accustomed to Christianity being explained as a doctrinal checklist, you'll find this to be a hopeful and refreshing experience (or at least I hope so!). If your story has already been fundamentally transformed by the story of Jesus, we hope you'll find new depth and meaning in the true post-resurrection story of "Epilogue | Intro."