Create + Write + Inspire
Fundamentally Good: Starting Your Story in the Right Place
by Jennifer Kelly on June 29th, 2017

Discovery Park sits on a hill nestled next to the Rockies. Sloping in such a way to welcome and cradle children to come and play. The sun carries no prejudice, it reflects the same loving warmth off auburn, gold and ebony strands of hair alike; while the breeze whispers songs of cool relief. Both working in unison to create an atmosphere to stay ... play.

I sit and watch two adolescent boys play chess and figure out their next move. 
"CHECK" and laughter ensues through glasses and overzealous emotions stuffed in boys that are learning to become men.

Simultaneously, a tiny little girl appears from behind the table in diapers. Her mind works faster than her legs, and almost topples over while waddling to the slide. All of a sudden, she stops. Realizing the depth and height of the slide is much larger than her small frame. Her discerning stare immediately turns to look for dad, who only encourages bravery and safety all at the same time.

My eyes shift to the cascading mountains, where the clouds act as magnificent sheer curtains all throughout the range. The clouds somehow highlight the depth and majesty of the Rocky mountains in just the right way. Spots of snow still stick to mountain peeks, just a handful of miles away.

I recently sat through a lecture at Denver Seminary by Dr. Payne. He spoke with knowledge, excitement and grace about the sheer wonder of Creation. How goodness, beauty, elegance and artistry were all a part of the "sheer un-necessity of Creation". To stop and think of Creation as liturgy. Dr. Payne also suggested that Evangelical Christianity sometimes runs the risk of starting the theology of grace in the wrong place. 

The Fall of humanity. The introduction of sin, disobedience, guilt and shame all recorded in Genesis chapter 3.

As I sit and bask in the environment of nature, I wonder if the Garden of Eden reflected elements like this park nestled in the hills. Where purple daisies dance with the wind and birds sing. 

I scan my notes from Dr. Payne's lecture and realize I don't take time to reflect on the goodness of God in terms of (​בָּרָא) bara, the Hebrew word of divine activity. Of a Triune God who called a created world into being. I start to think that maybe Dr. Payne is right? That a good theology of grace is understanding that grace started in Creation. 

My two girls finish with climbing ropes and decide to play with water and sand. The same water and dirt God called into being. I wonder if He thought of all these children, playing in the park on a hill. Skipping through streams, building sand castles, climbing, laughing ... being.

We do start at sin most of the time don't we?
Too often, grace comes after the fact ...

You have a problem.
You are a problem.
The sin nature that exists inside of you is a problem (and one that we underestimate).

But our fallenness is not the most fundamental thing about us.

There's two chapters that exist before Genesis 3. And we are told that God made us good - very good.

I think about a good Theology of Creation and I want to go around to every, single child at the park and start the narrative of their stories at the right beginning. In Genesis chapter 1 & 2.

I want to tell them that God "bara" them.
He divinely and lovingly created them.

I want to tell all the kiddos that the mountains and water and sand were created with them in mind. That they are unique and loved and made in the "imago dei" (the image of their heavenly Father).

That such a time is this in the mind of a Triune God that spoke the world into being - and this park on a hill.

Yes, we have a problem. And sin will be the struggle for your eternal soul while on this earth, but grace was there before it all.

To think of grace only after the problem is to not understand the goodness of God. We focus on the culmination of grace, the part of the narrative that came after the Fall. We witness a Triune God willing to do whatever it takes to bring back His creation.

Don't you see? Grace didn't come after you messed up. Grace was a part of God's nature from the beginning. When He made the stars to sparkle in the night. When He created temperature and time and space. Grace ran through the breath and blood of the very first man formed from dust - even though God knew what would happen in Genesis 3. God didn't need to do any of it. The sheer wonder of Creation is because He delighted to.

That's Creation as liturgy.

Sin and brokenness and the devastation of death are real and raw. We are still in-between grace, dealing with the ramifications of a fallen world before Christ's return. But don't start there. Go back to the beginning ...

Go sit outside and listen for the still small voice that whispers in the wind and invites you to play.

Know where the narrative of your story starts.
In the goodness and love and grace of a Triune God that delights in you.

​*Photo by Robert Lukeman on Unsplash

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ben faust - June 29th, 2017 at 12:25 PM
very sweet

Autumn Ferrante - June 29th, 2017 at 10:52 PM
I love this. Thank you Jennifer
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