Fun Facts of Lent, Day Forty-Five: A Pretty Great Story

I told you a few days ago how I see the Divine and the universe as one. That explains why I’m a theist, but not why I’m a Christian. I also told you how I believe in the power of story. Well, I’m a Christian because of the story.

I really love the Jesus story. It is a story about incredible highs and terrible lows. It is about treachery and forgiveness. It is about the corruption of religious institutions and the sympathetic heart behind tyrannical governments. It is about good people doing bad and bad people doing good. And at the center there’s this mystifying protagonist. He knows everything that’s about to happen – or does he? He may very well be the Son of God, but he won’t admit it. He walks peacefully into his own death, but feels forsaken when death is near. Who is this guy? What does he even want? How can he die without telling us?

He did tell us. He told us in the story of his life. And every time I listen to the story, I get a bit more of the answer. I hear a good sermon and I get just a little more. I read a verse I swear I’ve never heard before and I get a little more. Thirty years of hearing the same damn story and it’s still new every time.

This is why I’ve never been overly concerned with the historicity of the Bible. Whether or not it happened in history is of little consequence to me, because it is happening right now in the telling of it. The story is always happening. When people say it’s too similar to a million other old myths, all that does is tell me that the story really is as powerful as I feel it to be. It’s so powerful, it can’t be contained by this one example, this one instance in the first century. It is in the ancient Greeks and the foundation of Buddhism. It has always been and will always be. It’s like the cosmos keeps trying to hit us over the head with it and we still don’t get it.

I’m trying to get it. I’ve been trying my whole life, and I’ll keep trying. Today is Good Friday, the day Jesus died. We call it good because as terrible as it was, the story doesn’t end on the cross. It ends three days later, when everything is different and a new story can begin.