At the epicenter of the gospel we encounter God’s own chaos narrative summarized in Paul’s phrase, the “word of the cross” (1 Cor. 1:18). As a preacher, Paul worried that too much eloquence — we might say, too many good stories — would detract from his message and rob the divine chaos of its power (1 Cor. 1:17). To the evangelists and Paul, the chaos does not represent a sidebar or a footnote to the main story. For an awful moment it rules, as in Jesus’ cry of dereliction, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Each story in the Gospels artfully portrays someone’s battle with the very same forces of dissolution. It was chaos in the fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee It was chaos when the little boy was having convulsions at the feet of Jesus. It was chaos in Gethsemane when “his sweat became like great drops of blood.”
It is important to let people know that God has taken up the “narrative wreckage” of our lives into God’s own history, because many people think of the Christian story as a simple restitution narrative. They send money to preachers who promise to fix everything that is broken, from salvation to self-esteem.
The End of Words
by: Richard Lischer