This is our story (with God) as we read it . . .
Once before a time in a void not far away—the Maker—created all. He smiled and called all good: pastel skies and turquoise oceans, lush valleys and craggy mountains, whispering trees and silent rocks, furry animals and feathered birds; and yes even the steep inclines and golden gates of our beloved San Francisco. With His exhale we inhaled. It was love at first breath. We were instantly mirroring his image. We were created to care for his work and worship Him. We were in love. And He rested. The backdrop and characters were very good. And thus, the perfect setting for our story began, when God spoke it so.
The plot emerges when we bit into loving ourselves, and serving a different fruit. We opted for life without God. A violent fallout ensued affecting all the good and beauty of creation. The result: we destroy all that is good around us. We litter our planet with waste, we mutate pleasures into addictions, we mock those who have no place to call home, we murder each other, we refuse to associate with other races and cultures. This is because we, like our earliest ancestors, worship those things that are not God. We worship our religions, we worship money, we worship our careers, we worship our sexuality, we worship our possessions, we worship ourselves and we forget about God. This lack of God-consciousness has caused us to forget what makes us human. This disease is not limited to those of us who reside in the Bay Area; this illness and fallen-ness can be read in stories and tales amongst people from all places and from all times. This wound is both molecular and spiritual, it’s in the air and in the heart, and proof of the illness is death. We watch the bodies of our moms and dads turn to dust and ash. Communication breaks, laughter ceases, and memories fade. This is the way it has been since the beginning. Death wins.
But 2000 years ago the story took an expected turn (for the better). The Maker sent us a hero—we call him, Jesus. Jesus showed us the way out of this mess. He showed us how to love again, like it was in the garden. He recovered health for the ill, restored dignity to the poor, extended forgiveness to the indebted, and fostered a community of people who would become a new, global family for all those who have nowhere else to go. (We are a local expression of that community.)
When we were given Jesus we did with Jesus what we did with our beautiful world—we tried to destroy him. We sentenced him to death in a court and crucified him on a cross. Undaunted by our hateful rejection, Jesus humbled himself and accepted a criminal’s fate. Jesus died. But God wasn’t finished and the story wasn’t over. On the third morning of Jesus’ death God disarmed all evil by raising Jesus from the grave. A new creation emerged (resurrection), and with it the promise that earth will be healed and humanity redeemed.
Jesus loves us. We believe in Jesus Christ.
Forty days later, God showed up at our doorstep with a gift. He forgave us. He accepted us. He made it alright. This gift—the Holy Spirit—empowered us to fulfill the mission of God to the world. See, God—who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is healing the world. We are invited to share in the story of that healing, our lives the very substance of that story. The Spirit of God lives in us to carry on the work of Jesus. We paint pictures of hope to discouraged souls. We pass out samples of heaven to the hungry. We sing tunes of joy to those in the margins. We advocate for those in alleys of injustice. We steward the earth. We share faith, hold hope, and give love.
We are trying to follow this Jesus whose heroic story has been recorded by his followers and has called us to know him. We pass the word along that God ‘s chosen one has come and will come again to restore all things. We seek to emulate Jesus while we wait for the final victory of all things good.
This is our story—join us.