shipwrecks & salvation
By Susan Orloff
July 10, 2020
Passages of the day: Click HERE to read today’s passages.
1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14
Christianity is not a religion; nor is it merely a relationship. It is the Story of Everything. It takes the earliest pagan dreams, the philosophies of countless cultures, and the yearnings of our hearts for ultimate justification and sweeps them ALL into a single breath-taking narrative. And whether you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim or atheist - yours is a story within this Story.
At its core, it is a Story of shipwrecks and salvation.
And as today’s passages reveal so beautifully, there is an important distinction between the shipwrecks of the first and second halves of this Story (aka the Old and New Testaments).
The Saul of I Chronicles 10 and the Saul (later Paul) of Acts 27 are both men from the tribe of Benjamin; and they both receive unexpected callings which set them out on journeys that are veritably strewn with “shipwrecks”.
But in the typical fashion of Old Testament shipwrecks, King Saul’s arise when he turns away from the Law; and his “shipwreck story” ends in despair and eventual suicide. Worse yet, he doesn’t live to see the beautiful “salvation story” that follows - as David becomes King, ushers in a Golden Age for Israel, and sets a course toward the Ultimate Salvation Story.
But then we see Paul, who beautifully reflects the New Testament’s theme of redemption transcending the Law. Paul chooses to embrace his shipwreck story – never losing confidence that a salvation story will follow. And in so doing, he lives on to inspire others who will catapult that Story right down through the millennia.
I love to imagine that the Author of the Story of Everything is eagerly watching to see whether you and I will approach OUR shipwreck stories like a Saul or a Paul. But if this is our only takeaway today, then we’re missing a much bigger picture:
Because each time we engage one of our personal shipwrecks like a Paul (by reacting to someone who wrongs us with humility; or by responding to unjust anger with sacrificial love) we are adding an eternal thread to the tapestry of God’s New Creation. And although we see only the underside of that Tapestry at the moment (which often looks sloppy and even quite baffling) God sees the perfected Tapestry in all of its glorious splendor.
And it’s magnificent beyond all imagining.
To preview the Ultimate Salvation Story and get a glimpse of that New Creation - tune in for this Sunday’s sermon. It will take your breath away.
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
— Proverbs 18:24
Prayer to start with: Heavenly Father, help me remember how your eyes are always on me and you know my name. You see me, you hear me, and you hold me. Also, convict me when I try to rush through these harder parts of my daily reading. Thank you for being gracious, compassionate, and thorough. Amen.