Every story emerges from a beginning. In one of the most common bedtime scenes ever, the insistent plea “Daddy, tell us a story!” prompts a beginning, breaking into the thoughtful, brooding silence of the night with four simple words, “Once upon a time …” In one expression, a father gestures to his children that everything is beginning: Get snuggled up and get ready to become lost in the wonder of the world, characters, and the plot which I am about to create and unfold for your wonder, delight, and bedazzlement.
Now, God is the Master Storyteller. Not a Storyteller of mere fiction, mind you, but a Storyteller of the Truth. This Author weaves his own narration of events so powerfully and with such truth that it not only describes our world but actually brings the universe along with us into being! Before anything existed, God began relating, decreeing, singing our story with infinite creative beauty, intrigue, passion, complexity, and wonder, as only God could. We all are characters in the Story of this Great Author, a Story called his Creation, brought into existence for the glory of our Artist and Creator!
But this Storyteller is unique: he actually wants to be known by his Story! This Author audaciously writes himself into the Narrative that he tells, he enters the plot and setting to become a character, so that the others can find him, know him, and, in the process, become larger than life. Beyond our wildest imaginations, he is the Protagonist of his own Story, right in the middle of all the action; in fact, not a single strophe of this Work makes a lick of sense without him (he is, in no sense, a Deus ex machina). He has done this all in the hope that his characters would find him and know him.
So, this Storyteller who so desperately wants his characters to know him, must tell them his Story, the Story that they are living, beginning at the beginning. Or, maybe I should say, “In the beginning.” This is, after all, how God begins it all . Far more than our usual “Once upon a time ...” the expression “In the beginning ...” signals to us, his creatures, his characters, his helpless children, that his Story is beginning, and that it begins in the very beginning with him. It is our cue to snuggle up close to him and get ready for the story of a lifetime: the greatest tragedy ever told, the greatest adventure ever told, the greatest romance ever told, the greatest comedy ever told, and the greatest fairytale ever told. And, truth be told, we will not be disappointed.
It is, however, difficult for us to do justice to this Story and to our Storyteller, to tell it and live it in a world full of (to wax metaphorical) dime-novels and paperback airplane reading. To tell and live it rightly then, let us begin where Godhimself began, in his Creation of the universe, and marvel as his Story unfolds and envelops us with its heady and intoxicating power.
This short article was published in the Resurrection Times: Wednesday Edition, June 9, 2010. Its purpose was to whet the whistle of its readers for the up-coming sermon on the Doctrine of Creation.