Redemption as Drama
Drama. The word brings a few meanings to mind. To the youth culture a person or relationship that is defined by emotional instability or overreaction can generally be referred to as drama. We are all familiar with the term drama queen for someone who reflects this behavior. My wife and I on occasion have referred to our 1 year old daughter as a “drama queen” for her inconsolable outbursts when one of us takes the incorrect spot on her bed to lay down with her. And finally for the purpose of this endeavor, drama is the word we use for stories that touch us on deep levels and have mature and thoughtful themes and plotlines, sometimes even of epic proportions. Movies that have these characteristics are referred to as dramas.
Dramas can be found in all genres. I remember my first taste of drama as a 7 year old. It started when Darth Vader’s Super Destroyer was relentlessly pursuing Princess Leia’s starship over the desert planet Tatooine. Yes, it was Star Wars the epic science fiction fantasy story that tells the tale of heroes, heroines, and really bad guys a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
But was that really my first taste of a grand story that grabbed my imagination and my attention and uplifted my soul in a way that left me longing for more? No, on second thought I remember a much grander, much more robust, much more meaningful, and much truer story than the one I saw on the big screen that day.
I remember reading and hearing this long before I saw Star Wars. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth… And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:1, 31). This story didn’t end there though. “The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15) This story didn’t waste a lot of time setting the stage for the bad thing that happens in the beginning! Talk about drama, what in the world would the human race do? How could Adam and Eve do that? What were they thinking? And who is this one who will bruise the head of the evil serpent? These are cliffhanger questions if I ever saw one.
Now over the course of the next couple of thousand years God, through the writers of the Bible, spun a most excellent tale of towers, floods, kings, armies, battles, love stories, and love letters. All the while, building up to one great moment in storytelling history.
But is the Bible a drama? “When we look a bit more closely at the Bible, we find that the majority of its content is narrative in character. It is a storied revelation. This fact suggests that the unifying, insight-producing feature that gives the Bible its coherence as revelation is the story it tells. Indeed, the Bible as a whole is best understood as a story or drama. To be sure the Bible does more than tell a story. Scripture includes psalms and proverbs, songs and prayers, moral instruction and doctrinal reflection. But what holds all of it together, what makes it a unified revelation is the storyline, what theologians often call the drama of redemption. The nonnarrative pieces fit into and make sense only within their appropriate contexts in the biblical storyline” (“Far as the Curse is Found” by Michael D. Williams, Pg x).
And who is the Luke Skywalker, or Indiana Jones, or Optimus Prime of this grand story? The central figure of the Bible who holds the whole thing together and who every verse speaks about is none other than our own high priest and savior Jesus Christ. “Biblical religion holds that the central event in all human history was the execution of a wandering first-century Palestinian preacher and his rising from the dead two days later in fulfillment of God’s covenant promises. This is the Gospel…What was promised to Adam and Eve in the midst of their guilt and shame, what was prefigured over and over again throughout the Old Testament story of Israel…came to pass in a Judean backwater town where God “became flesh and made his dwelling with us””. (“Ibid, Pg. xiii)
So the next time you read your Bible, remember that the story is true and that it finds its fulfillment in Christ. This is why you are drawn to stories, because the very God who made you is the most excellent storyteller in existence. And the next time you are entranced by a drama or story, you don’t have to wonder why. It is because you are already part of the greatest story ever told. If you know and follow Jesus and have turned to him for salvation, then you are a central character in this great redemption story. You have been “grafted” into this never ending, eternal story of redemption and not as a mere extra, but a co-heir with Christ, the lead character, and will benefit from His gracious extension of his mercy. And if you don’t know Him and have refused his call, then you still have the opportunity to enter His story, but time is indeed running out. Your very love for the drama in life bears out this very fact.