The Bible contains 66 books, 1,189 chapters, 2,398 pages (with front- and backmatter), 31,102 verses, 783,137 words, and 3,116,480 letters. Roughly 50 different authors spanning about 1,100 years are represented there, using every literary genre known to humanity: histories, biographies, short stories, novellas, sagas, legends, essays, visions, science fiction, songs, poems, even acrostics. It takes about 70 hours to read the whole Bible from cover to cover.
It’s a sprawling and complicated book (library is more accurate), and yet the basic plot of the entire Bible is extremely simple. There are just three plot moves: (1) God creates a splendid world; (2) the world gets broken; (3) God restores the world to its original splendor.
Last week when Gayle King asked Beto O’Rourke why he changed his mind and decided to run for President, he said, “This country has never faced a greater set of challenges.” He almost persuaded me when he talked about climate change, but I’m not sure this is the most challenging it’s ever been for America. Beto was just two years old at the fall of Saigon, so he doesn’t remember that catastrophe, but was he absent from class for the whole Civil War unit in the sixth grade? Pearl Harbor?
Still, you see his point, don’t you? Terrorism in Charleston, Pittsburgh, Christchurch; fraud in business, academia, and government; a planet crumbling under wasteful and excessive consumerism. The brokenness of the world is on vivid display these days. Perhaps it always is.
Christians believe that it is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that God patches together again the broken creation. In Jesus, God makes at-one-ment with and between the children of God.
This year the Lenten sermon series is A Wideness in God’s Mercy. We’ve been thinking about the longsuffering love of the Creator by which God’s wayward children are welcomed back into harmony with divinity, and how we can show the same mercy to those who walk the way with us.
We hope you’ll join us on three Monday evenings in the Culbertson Room at 7 p.m. to continue the conversation about the wideness in God’s mercy.