The brokenness of the world is personal and systematic; and those two kinds of brokenness are deeply intertwined. What I do affects systems and what systems do affects me. Changing that begins with acknowledging the totality of that brokenness.
It’s easy to imagine that sin is about failing to follow a set of divine rules, and there might be something to that. But the deeper brokenness of the world is found in distorted relationships: relationships where we fail to serve one another, to help one another, to love one another. What we need is not more rigid rules, but restored relationships.
The world is broken; we know that the world is broken; we can see that the world is broken. But it’s important to remember that the brokenness of the world does not overwhelm its goodness.
The gospel is the good news that—in the end—the God who is love wins. Everybody is justified. Everybody is made righteous. Everybody receives grace. Everybody lives.
God creates for the love and delight of it. The whole of creation is made by love for love. And that means that everything that is—everyone who is: you and me and everyone else—is a gift. Maybe even a work of art!
The big story of our faith is that the God who is love is not just for some people but for everyone; and not just for everyone but for all of creation. No one can call profane the world that God has made clean. No one can withhold baptism from the world upon which God has poured the spirit.
God does not ask the Israelites to follow him because he is powerful, or because he created the cosmos, or because he can send them to hell. God asks them to follow him because of who he is: the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt and the house of slavery. “Follow me,” says God, “because I am the one who liberates you from oppression.”
The Christian story is essentially revolutionary, because it is a story about how God re-roots a broken world in the image of the God who is love, and how, even now, we can step into that world./
We come into stories that are already being told; we enter into journeys that are already well underway. Those stories have good parts and bad parts, heroes and villains, and more. While we have to acknowledge all of our history, it is up to us which parts of our histories we adopt into the next stage of our journey.