Dancing In the Kingdom – Part 1 – Shadows of the Kingdom – Chapter 1 – Prelude
Let the confusion begin.
[Bible references: Psalm 139; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10]
There’s a story to our lives. Some of us feel content, for the moment, about where we are. But many of us want a story that doesn’t end where we currently are because we want our lives to be more than the mess we are or the mess we see. We have a sense that “this is not the way things should be,” something is not right either about ourselves or our bodies or our minds our situation or the world around us. We want our selves or our world to be better or to be in a better place. We are, at some level, discontent, dissatisfied, and restless.
A few thousand years ago, someone began writing a story, a different story than the others in circulation at the time. Those other stories were about gods who, except for being immortal, acted just like the humans with all their faults and shortcomings. And those stories headed nowhere. Nothing got better.
But this new story was not about many gods but one God. This new story explained that even though things were originally good, there is a mess now, but there is a plan to make it better.
Intriguingly, although the story was begun by one human author, the story would continue to be written by many other human authors, different types of authors who spoke different languages and who lived at different times over the course of 1500 years. What held it all together was the divine author whose Spirit was breathed into each human author. What began as a set of writings by one human author, eventually became a book, a literary masterpiece with common themes, but complex literary devices, inter-textual references, poetry and songs, and different kinds of narratives (about events before the writers lived, narratives of events witnessed by the different writers, prophetic narratives about God’s judgments and plans in either the immediate or far-off future).
This long, complex story told in these many texts reveals a God who has remained faithful despite our distracted and discontented ways. In fact, it became apparent when God was the author overseeing the human authors, because the human authors would foretell something about the future that made no sense at the time it was written. Sometimes, the full meaning of things written by one human author would only become clear as later writers added to the story. Sometimes, things did not make sense until God acted at a later time. And some things are still hard to make sense of.
 The Bible Project. “Ancient Jewish Meditation Literature” Bible Project bibleproject.com/explore/video/bible-jewish-meditation-literature-h2r/
Share the impressions you have of the Bible and of Christianity. What questions do you have?
Take time to draw a map of your story. (see the Life Map exercise at soulcare for some ideas on how to do that. soulcare.net/resources/Life%20Mapping%20Exercise.pdf)
- Write down highlights and events that have shaped you and defined your life.
- Name the people that have had a meaningful impact on your life.
- Look for any theme that emerges from your life
- Think about the complexity of your life
- What things are hard to understand or share with others?
- Does your life story show the impact of God on your life?
- What questions emerge from your story?
Take time to share your story with others. As you read through this book and continue to reflect, you will begin to see how your story fits into God’s story.
As you listen to each other’s story, what themes do you see in each other’s lives?
Read Psalm 139. Think about the comprehensiveness with which the Creator knew you even before He created you and even before time and how He is intimate with you during each moment of the day. What kind of confidence does that give you?