A prominent characteristic of families is having a shared story. This story creates common understanding among the members about where they came from, what each other has undergone, and why they are the way they are. Without a shared story, there is very little that bonds family together.
But what if you’re adopted and have no past with this new family? What if all of your siblings are adopted, too?
Such is the case in the family of God: there is one begotten Son, the rest of us are adopted.
This means, all of us are still learning the family legends, characters, and plot.
Not understanding the family story leaves massive barriers to intimacy in the familia Dei. If it is expected that siblings behave as family simply by virtue of sharing the family name, they may come to holidays, but probably won’t make it to the spontaneous barbeque bashes. The lack of intimacy and knowledge that results should not come as a surprise.
And so, the common response to lacking a common story is, “it takes time.”
True enough. It does take time to share experiences and create memories with new people. But, adoption into the familia Dei involves a pre-existing family history. A family history that becomes yours by adoption.
And so, the biblical revelation of the familia Dei becomes our story, too. Only, not in some “out there” ethereal sense. In a very profound, very impactful way, Scripture provides the framework by which life is understood in the missional family of God.
There is a unique affect in the lives of Christians shaped by the Scriptures, because it not only informs us of the family history but also of where the family’s future. All of the narratives, poems, proverbs, and letters that make up the canon contribute to our knowledge of the trajectory of the family of God.
Scripture’s dramatic timetables (and their distinctive traits) could be outlined like this:
- Revelation of God’s past action (the genesis of the world in perfection, then man breaks it)
- Present action (formation and life of Israel)
- Prophecies of future action (Messiah will come to Israel)
- Present action (Israel waiting for Messiah)
- Prophecy-fulfilling present action (Jesus comes as Messiah, establishes the Church [Matthew-Jude])
- Prophecies of future action (Jesus leaves and promises to come back [Revelation])
- Our present (Church waiting for Jesus’ return)
- Prophecy-fulfilling present action (Jesus returns, everything is made perfect again)
Outside the canon, but still in the Story
So there we have it. Scripture leaves us on a cliff-hanger awaiting some future fulfillment of the prophecies about Jesus coming back to earth. The basic plot of the entire trajectory of the familia Dei is entirely laid out. This is how those adopted into Jesus’ family experience the powerful bonding effect of a shared common story. Our existence takes place within and is moving towards the fulfillment of a bigger story.
This reality can shape the way you think about and tell your own personal story. Of course, every individual’s story is incredibly dynamic and complex, but by understanding where your life is situated in the unfolding Drama, are there elements to your story that tend to make more sense?