In my mind there is one opening movie scene that is greater than all the rest. Try as directors have for years, it is and will forever be impossible to top this cinematic masterpiece.
Some movies start off a little more subtle. I think about the type of movies that open with 4 minutes of credits to some b-roll or animated figures. Listen, no one wants to sit through the credits. That is why they are at the end, so I can leave during them. Don’t give me that bait and switch.
Others never really take off at all. You wait, and you wait and finally you just realize you have wasted precious minutes of your life on this dry, unentertaining film while you could have been doing something more important like posting a picture of your latest meal to Instagram.
But there is nothing like a story that really comes out guns blazing. And the opening scene that I am thinking of does just that. It is in fact, the opening scene to the Lion King.
How do you beat it?
I have actually reenacted a one-person version of that scene after the births of both my sons. The Doctor did not find is as entertaining as the Disney version.
Every story starts somewhere, but good stories start… well good. They have tension and excitement, and they make you want to hear the rest. If you have seen the Lion King, can you imagine never seeing that opening scene? Or think about your favorite movie, imagine never knowing how it began?
No one should come in at the middle of a story. But that is just what we do. We are born in the middle of a story. We live in the middle of a story. And most of the time, we don’t take the time to go back to the beginning.
The first 4 words of the Bible go like this, “In the Beginning God…” If this were the Fairytale version it would be “Once Upon a time God…”
I love how we take the opening chapter of Genesis and ask questions of it that wont really change much for us.
At the end of the day, the What, the When and the How of creation doesn’t do a whole lot for me in the here and now. When I struggle, when I doubt, when I celebrate, or when I am need direction.
At the end of the day, my relationships aren’t mended, my bills aren’t paid, and my spirits aren’t lifted by knowing the age of the earth.
What helps, what changes everything, is the Why.
Throughout opening scene of God’s story, the first chapter of Genesis, God just starts creating stuff. Light, land, animals, plants. He even created Spiders… sometimes I think God has a weird sense of humor.
And after he creates these things he keeps saying they are “good”.
This isn’t saying, “yeah they are ok.” What he is saying is, “this is just as it should be, this is perfectly good.”
But when we get to the end of the chapter we read that God creates something separate from everything else. He creats something that bears his very image. He creates us and says that we are very good.
You remember how everything else was just as it should be? We are the pinnacle of all of that.
And the why? God is good, he created a good world, to reflect how good he is.
Now in the middle of the story, we know that the world is not all good. But in the beginning, it was good, and it showed the goodness of God.
Fossil records, and carbon dating, and interpretation, and dinosaurs that only eat plants all don’t do much for me here and now.
When I want to know why bad things happen, when I want to know why the world is not as it should be, when I want to know why God doesn’t seem to notice.
At the end of the day, my relationships aren’t mended, my bills aren’t paid, my spirits aren’t lifted by knowing that God is good, but it changes my perspective, it gives me hope.
Genesis 1 reminds us that we are not accidents. We’re not mistakes. Regardless of what the world says, or the failures we endure, before we did anything, achieved anything, proved anything, we are very good. We are image bearers of a good God who created a good world to show how good he is.
That’s how our story starts.
–cue catchy intro theme song-