“For God so loved the world…” is the theme of the whole Bible. This truth is evident in the creation story, in the lives of Abraham and Sarah, in the Exodus, throughout the history of the Hebrews/Jews, in the life and teachings of Jesus, and in the Epistles. GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD. There is only one story in the Bible: the story of God’s love, forgiveness, grace, and blessing.
There is only one story. You can read the Old Testament version or the Gospels of Jesus or the Epistles of the New Testament in the NRSV or NIV or any other version, sermon, book, novel, essay, journal that purports to interpret that story. You may espouse the Catholic or the Pentacostal or Evangelical or Lutheran or Presbyterian or Methodist or Baptist or any other denomination’s version of the story. You may not even be Christian. There is only one story.
I have come to the conclusion after being immersed in that story for a lifetime that there is only one story. It is a story about God, and his creation: the Divine One who creates us, loves us, gives us free will, challenges us, supports us, and forgives us when we turn back to him.
God set up the rules and laws for the universe and for us, if we want to live life fully. We can follow those rules or not as we see fit because God offers us free will. God sent Jesus not as a sacrifice for our sins, but to show us how to live a God-centered life. God would rather have us draw near to him by our own free choice than to leave us no choice. He wants us voluntarily, of our own free will, totally his.
And God wants us 100% attentive, first in our lives. God wants all of us—heart, mind, soul and strength, not just a little here and a little there. Our will aligned with his. Our hearts and minds engaged with his. Our sensate bodies totally aware of his presence. Co-creating with us.
There is only one story: of God’s love and care for us and for all creation. So live the love, live the forgiveness, live the support, live the companionship. Live fully, wholeheartedly. To live in God’s love is to live in the kingdom right now.