In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. At first, there was nothing, and then at the word of God, light came into being. Sun, moon and stars, land, water. Then God filled the earth with plants and creatures, and finally man. And this creation was perfect. There was no blemish. There was no brokenness. It was idyllic.
Relationships were right. God came and walked with mankind, talking and relating without barrier. Adam and Eve related perfectly–every vulnerability exposed, they walked and worked together in harmony. The earth was lush and ripe and provided everything that mankind needed to survive. Adam and Eve worked, but their work was fulfilling and life-giving.
And then one day, it all fell apart. There was a tree, you see. A tree in the middle of the garden - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The one negative command that God had given was challenged and then disobeyed. And everything changed.
When God came to walk in the garden that day, Adam and Eve were hiding. No longer could they walk without fear or shame - no... instead they hid. The relationship between Adam and Eve was now doomed to be one of conflict and fighting for dominance. The land was no longer so giving and forgiving, but would require toil and backbreaking labor to produce what they needed to survive. Mankind’s relationships were a mess. Relationship with God, relationship with one another, relationship with the land, even relationship with self - now all were full of self-delusion, shame, and fear.
But the rebellion of mankind did not hold God back. No, he immediately made plans for a daring rescue of the world. It would be years in coming, it would take many generations, but he would see the world transformed and restored. He would see mankind reconciled to himself and one another.
So God called a man named Abram to leave his father and mother and go to a land he would be shown. God promised Abram that his offspring would be more numerous than the stars in the sky, that he would be given land, and that all nations of the world would be blessed through him. So Abram went, and God put into motion his plan of rescue.
Eventually, Abram’s offspring became a great nation - a nation called and set apart by God to bless the world and to walk in the world as representatives of the living God, Yahweh. Every action, every law, every human relationship was to be lived according to the commands of Yahweh so that people would see and remember who God is and how much he loves the world.
But Abram’s offspring often forgot about Yahweh, and they were so busy protecting themselves, their property, and their desires, that the world around them had no idea who God really is and what he cares about.
So God sent Jesus, as the perfect picture of who God is and how much he loves the world. Jesus lived and loved and ministered and died. And through his death, he calls and invites each one of us to remember who we are and who God is, and to become a part of his great plan to rescue and redeem all the world.
What is God's great plan to rescue and redeem all the world? What part is he calling you to play in that plan? When he calls you, will you go?