I read Romans 5 this morning, and I got a bit inspired. This was the result. I’m not pretending it’s the whole story. It’s simply a reflection on a single chapter in one of Paul’s letters. Mind you, Paul really did manage to cram a lot into one chapter!
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Let me tell you story. It is the story of humanity.
A long time ago, at the birth of the human race, man found himself in a freshly-made body in a freshly-made world. All around there was beauty and abundance, and he walked with his creator. There was laughter and excitement and joy. But all this changed. Man chose to grasp for more than he had been given. He crossed the one line his creator had lovingly drawn for him. That one ugly act, ignited a deep and ugly disease in himself. More than that, when his sons were born he saw that same ugly disease in them too. And when he met his grandchildren they too had that same darkness inside them.
And so generation, after generation, after generation of man’s children showed the signs of that deadly disease. Long after that first man died, his children walked his road. Each walking towards death. Every ugly thought and every ugly act could be traced back to his first grasping act of rebellion. These weak little creatures could not drag themselves out of the mud. Their dark little hearts could not shake off the taint of their ancestor. They continued to look with suspicion at their generous creator, and in their various ways set themselves up as his enemies.
The answer was clear to their creator. It had always been clear. He loved them with a deep burning love. It was a love that refused to sit still whilst his little creatures destroyed themselves. So he sent his beloved to become one of them. His Son who had been his co-creator of that once freshly-made world, and who loved those little people with that same powerful love he had for them.
Looking down, the creator could see his Son, brightly shining and beautiful, walking amongst the myriad of those ugly diseased men and women. Their anger boiled towards the beloved, and so they killed him. Just as the creator had always planned. In that moment, he drew all the dark disease from many, many of those little enemies, and gathered it all into his Son. In that moment they became bright and beautiful like his Son had been. Strength and life flowed into their bones, and their hearts were suddenly filled with love for the creator. He unlocked a door that simply said “Come In” and all those brightly shining people started grabbing each other’s hands and ran through it.
Looking down on the scene, with tears in his eyes, an angel tugged on the creator’s clothing, and said, “But what about the beloved?” The creator smiled, and pointed. The lifeless body of his Son suddenly burst with light. He was alive! Once the angel had finished dancing with excitement, he looked up at the creator again and asked, “What did they have to do to get you to heal them?” The creator smiled again. “Nothing. They were too diseased and weak to contribute anything. It was a gift. They are simply the ones who believed me.”