God created this world and placed us in it. He was there in the garden with us and it was good. But we rejected him and turned to various idols. This pattern repeats again and again with the same tragic results. We turn from God to sin and to death and to those things that will never satisfy. Left alone this would be all we would ever know. Sin, death, and dissatisfaction. No amount of effort or progress could restore us back to the garden.
So God came to us. We celebrate that fact every Christmas. In Jesus Christ the God of the Exodus; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and the God of Israel came to be with us. We celebrate ‘Immanuel.’ And God came to seek and save the lost. This is the radical teaching of Christianity. It was beyond the world’s imagination that God would enter this fallen creation the way that he did. As Tim Keller says, “The founders of every other major religion said, ‘I’m a prophet who shows you how to find God,’ but Jesus taught, ‘I’m God, come to find you.'”
In reading Song of Songs I thought this would be an appropriate time to share an article that is just an except from a larger book, but still one of the better and more insightful pieces on marriage I’ve read recently. It may be odd to read this along with Song of Songs, in which two people gush about one another. But it is good to remember that even the ones we love the most are imperfect, just like us.
Here is the opening paragraph:
In generations past, there was far less talk about “compatibility” and finding the ideal soul-mate. Today we are looking for someone who accepts us as we are and fulfills our desires, and this creates an unrealistic set of expectations that frustrates both the searchers and the searched for.
We won’t get to the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 until next week, but in anticipation of it I thought I’d put forth a little contest for you all to enjoy.
What I want is for y’all to put together some sort of “artistic representation” of the prodigal son parable. Now don’t let that scare you off–there’s a reason I put it in quotes. I only want you to do something creative that captures the story, or a scene, or some aspect of this powerful parable.
Send in your entries, as many as you’d like, to me and I’ll select a winner and to that person I’ll give a free copy of The Prodigal God, by Tim Keller. This is a great book on this parable that I highly recommend. It’s simple and profound, and for those worried that I’m just giving you additional reading, it’s also a pretty short book.
Here are some ideas to get your brain in gear:
performance in mime
Take a picture or record whatever you’ve done and I’ll announce a winner at the end of next week. Send it to me at email@example.com
*I’ll have to limit the winner to the USA for shipping.