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The Ancient Story





The Bible presents us with an epic love-shaped narrative, a story of salvation, a history of hope, and a metanarrative of mercy, which begins at creation and ends in the new creation.


This story, which reaches its high point in the person and work of Jesus, shows YHWH going through hell and high water so that he might have for himself a bride, a covenant people made up of individuals from every tribe and tongue. This story provides us with a truth to live by.


The church, as covenant partners, is called to act as faithful witnesses to this story. As individuals and communities, guided by the Spirit and with our eyes fixed on Jesus, we are empowered to improvise in the here and now based on the 'story we find ourselves in,' understanding the preceding acts contained in our foundational documents. By living in such a way, we embody, in the here and now, the values and vision of the future kingdom."


Act I: Creation




Long ago,

Many years before the Anthropocene,

Long before the wars of empire and spiral of ecological ruin,

the Spirit of the Great King hovered over the waters of the deep.

All was silent, for the earth was formless and void.


And love spoke into the darkness,

And there was light.

And life came into being.



Over six days, the Great King

created other than himself.


Forming and filling,

Blessing the beautiful,

Physicality bathed in holiness.


A cosmic canvas,

A glorious tapestry,

A rich symphony,

And He declared it to be good.


On the sixth day, the Great King

dignified the dust,

Soil became sanctified.

A human being,

A living soul.


A living,

breathing, animate

image of the invisible.


Imago Dei

Image of God.

Receive a holy calling,

To tend and keep,

Guard and Protect.


Imago Dei,

Image of God.

Receive a Holy calling

To enact and embrace the reign and rule of the Great King,

To serve as Priests of the High King of Heaven.


On the Seventh day, the Great King Rested,

For His work was done,

He had a place to dwell.

A place of presence and proximity,

A Cosmic Temple.


And the Great King declared it to be very good,

And it is very good.

For it is His home,

It is our home.

To Him be all praise and glory.



Act II: The Fall





Long ago,

Many years before we were seduced by the beast of unrestrained capitalism,

Our ancestors,

Full of possibility and potential,

Betrayed their calling to tend and keep.


Deceived by Lies and the lust for Power,

The beautiful became broken,

The glorious rebellious,

The blessed cursed,

And humanity began its long walk as homesick exiles East of Eden.


We built Babel,

But this did not satisfy,

And we opened the door to sin.

It has overwhelmed us.


Lord have mercy,

Christ have mercy.


Yet the Great King,

Full of great love,

Did not forsake His Cosmic Temple,

Nor did He forget His plan for humanity to

take up its calling to

tend and keep,

To be faithful and fruitful,

As image-bearing Priest Kings.


Love spoke,

Hope sang,

And the Great King

Embarked on a rescue mission

To liberate His cosmic temple.


To Him be all praise and glory.



Act III: Covenant and Empire





Long ago,

Many years before the oceans acidified, and in an age when the great waters teemed with life,

The King made a sacred promise

and

Bound Himself by solemn oath.


Challenging the curse,

The Great King,

Entered into a covenant,

With Abraham and his descendants,

And blessed them to be a blessing.


Challenging the curse,

The Great King,

Promised presence and proximity

To Abraham and his descendants,

And blessing to the scattered nations.


But alas,

The sacred tribe,

Is trapped and tested,

In the Empire of Egypt,

Slaves to systems and structures of domination.


Years went by.

All seemed silent.

Will the Great King remember His sacred promise?


Years went by,

All seemed silent,

How long will the Empire of Egypt and desires of domination enact injustice?


Then,

The Great King heard their cries,

remembered His promise,

and moved and acted.


Love spoke,

Hope sang,

And the Great King

Embarked on a rescue mission

to liberate His covenant people.


To Him be all praise and glory.



Act IV: Law & Land





Long ago,

Many years before the great migration and in an age when the rainforests flourished,

The Great King rescued His people from the Empire of Egypt.

With a strong and mighty hand,

He demonstrated,

Decisively,

& definitively,

That He was committed,

And Is committed,

To His compassionate covenant.


The Great King remembered, rescued, and redeemed His people,

And gave them proximity and presence,

As they embarked on their servant calling,

To tend & keep and be a light to the nations,

Image-bearing priest Kings,

And hope for the Cosmos.

The Cosmic Temple.


The covenant people,

Gifted with law and land,

And in that land,

In the city of the Great King,

A temple was built,

And the glory of the Lord,

The Spirit of the Great King,

Dwelt with His people.


The covenant community,

Called to compassion,

Raised their voice,


He is good,

For His covenant love endures forever.


And we raise our voices,


For He is good, for His covenant love endures forever.


And yet all was not well,

The image-bearers did not reflect the image of the Great King,

Deceived by lies and the lust for power.

Covenant broken,

East of Eden.


The path of curse was chosen,

As the people of purpose,

Faced Exclusion.

Exile,

For they bowed the knee to the economy and evils of the Empire.


And the Spirit of the Great King departed.


Lord have mercy,

Christ have mercy.


Yet the prophets spoke,

And longed and yearned,

For the Return of the Great King,

For the time of great Blessing,

For the great reversal.


Years went by.

All seemed silent.

Will the Great King remember His sacred promise?


Years went by,

All seemed silent,

Will the Great King move with compassion?


Then,

The Great King heard their cries,

remembered His promise,

and moved and acted.


Love spoke,

Hope sang,

And the Great King

Embarked on a rescue mission

to liberate His covenant people.


To Him be all praise and glory.



Act V: The Son of the Great King





Long ago,

Many years before the beast of unrestrained capitalism roamed the land,

The Great King,

Remembered His sacred oath,

And sent His Son,

To proclaim and enact the Kingdom.

To embark on a great mission of reconciliation and restoration.


The long night was over,

And the tender compassion of the King was made manifest,

The image of the eternal,

Enfleshed,

Jesus,

To Him be all praise and glory.


In Him,

The broken became beautiful,

The rebellious glorious,

The cursed blessed,

As homesick exiles, East of Eden, found their rest in Him.


For in Him,

The blind see,

The lame walk,

The demons tremble,

As the rule and reign of the Great King is embodied and enacted.


Yet,

Empires of Evil,

Powers and the Principalities,

Deceived by lies and the lust for power,

Crucified the Eternal Son,

And He lay silent in the grave.


Will injustice triumph?

Will death have the last word?


Hours went by.

All seemed silent.

Will the Great King remember His sacred promise?


Days went by,

All seemed silent.

Will the Great King move with compassion?


And love spoke into the darkness,

And there was light.

And life came into being.


And the Great King

Raised His Son to Life.


And so many years later,

Here we live and move and have our being.

As covenant partners of the Great King,

We have pledged our allegiance to His Son.

And we, living in the Anthropocene,

Must improvise on the basis of our ancient story.

These are indeed strange and difficult days,

But love wins.

Hope wins.

To Him be all praise and glory.


Swales- 2022




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