A few weeks back, Glen Scrivener commented on twitter to the effect that the Gospel was the best story, it was complete, incomparable, unbeatable. There was general agreement with this although some asked whether he would concede that the prequel found in the Old Testament came pretty close and was essential to the strength of the Gospel story. Glen’s response was that the Old Testament wasn’t the prequel but rather was part of that one big, brilliant unbeatable story.
If you have attended a traditional carol service with the nine set lessons then this should have come through clearly. We dropped into our local parish church this year and through the service heard the story read -a bit like having one of those Bible overview in an hour events.
The readings began back in Genesis 3 with humanity’s fall into sin bringing curse upon the earth. We were then taken to later in Genesis and saw God making a covenant with Abraham. The curse of sin was to be broken through Abraham’s people and heir. Then we found ourselves in the prophets including Micah. God’s people as a nation would fail but God would send a saviour, a messiah king.
Those readings took us well into the service. It was then, and only then that we were ready to hear the words of the angel announcing that the saviour’s arrival was imminent.
We don’t have two stories in the Bible. We are not presented with two gods, one of love and one of wrath. There is one God and therefore one single storyline. It is the incredible story of how God made us in his image, how we rebelled against him but how he did not give up on us. He made a promise to bring salvation and kept that promise, stepping down into history to reconcile us to himself.