So my son, these years ago, we gave him this Bible, an ‘Action’ Bible. And then throughout that Lent, as we read our Bible stories and hung our decorations daily on our Easter story tree, we all soaked together in the long story of grace, the story of God walking with His people. With us.
And then after Lent had finished and the melty chocolate of Easter was all savour swallowed and licked sticky from lips, and after the Easter story tree was piece by piece packed away, my son, he discovered in the back of his new Bible some blank pages. “What’s it for?” he asked his dad, “for you to capture your story with God” came the reply “The word of God is never ending, it goes on. Write your story down”.
Because the word of God, the story of God is never ending, the story of grace journeys on, with us. In us. Through us. Always.
Our lives are all part of this story, folded into time, a longer story, a larger story. A story stretching from the beginning of time and reaching through to the end of it. The one true story that began before we began, the living story that has yet to reach its full conclusion. The story of God’s long walk with human beings, the long story of grace, this wild crazy reckless grace that has been journeying towards us, and now with us, since before all time began. The story of this love that led to a cross. A cross that stands like a pin in a map, a line in the sand, a white flag in a war. This cross that is a thin rim of light across a pre-dawn horizon; the promise of a sun dawning forever on a brand new day.
Our journey with Jesus never really ends. The stories we read on the pages of Scripture keep us company as we journey on through our lives, living in the same story, living through the same story: His endless story of His endless love.
The late Rachel Held Evans wrote,
‘Jesus invites us into a story that is bigger than ourselves, bigger than our culture, bigger even than our imaginations, and yet we get to tell that story with the scandalous particularity of our particular moment and place in time. We are storytelling creatures because we are fashioned in the image of a storytelling God. May we never neglect the gift of that. May we never lose our love for telling the tale.’¹
May we never lose our love for telling the tale… the long story of grace in our lives.
And so he does, this little man, my son. He tells His tale, the story of God in one small life. Writes it down right there. Over days and weeks he scribbles and scratches pencil over page, life capturing life, etching out all the stories of grace in his sapling life, stories small in the world’s mind but big in his heart; the time God answered his prayer for a hamster, the time we all prayed and the hurricane turned, the time God answered his prayer for a special lego… miracle after small miracle, the gentle fingerprints of God left all over a small life, signposts pointing to presence, attentiveness, God with him. God with us².
And isn’t this how is has always been? The Ark of the Covenant was also the ark of the testimony, the story of God with His people, forming His people, souvenir signs trailing behind the people of promise reminding them of God’s presence, parameters, provision and grace on their journey together. Laws embedded into the story of who they were in Him. And all the feasts He gave them… were reenacting their story with Him. Reliving, retelling, remembering. Again and again and again. Remember! The story!
Because this is the truth… all these past presences, as we repeatedly remember them, become future promises, further pathways into yet more grace. As the story of the past becomes the path of the future reminding us of His faithfulness, His presence, His grace… that God can be trusted, that He will always be there, just as He always was. The testimony bears witness to the promise…
‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’
So this inked out ‘Long Walk…’ story I have been posting to you throughout this Lent, well it finishes today. But it’s not the end of the road. It’s not the end of our journey or our long story with Him. Our walk with Him continues on into forever. And the long story of His grace trails behind us and before us, lighting our path, becoming your path as we continue our long walk with HIm.
Because in the end it has always been a story, the one true story, and in the end we all find ourselves within it. Our lives finding life in His long story of grace.
Walk-on my friend. Walk on.
A thousand blessings to you and yours, thank you for your company on this road this season.
Stay always in the long story of grace,
PS: If you have reflections/feedback on how this journey has been for you I’d love to hear them. I’m keen to keep the story alive particularly throughout the season of Lent and Easter, so would love your help in strengthening this each year. You can most easily send your feedback through the contact page on this site (on the main menu bar) or through the comments section beneath specific posts or of course on our ‘Walking Together’ facebook page.
I’ll be leaving ‘The Long Walk…’ up for a while longer if there are any stories you want to revisit or share with others. But before Advent begins this year I plan to take it down and tuck it away, ready for the next leg of the journey. I’m planning to send you something in the lead up to Christmas… but until then this little corner of the internet will fall silent for a little while.
If you want to stay in touch, my personal blog site can be found at seeingbreathingliving.com where I share my personal reflections, poems and photographs from time to time.
Bless you. Thanks for your company along the way.
References, Notes and Credits
1 Rachel Held Evans, ‘Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again‘ Thomas Nelson, June 12th 2018
2 ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’)’ Matthew 1:23