“My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders he has done.” Psalm 78:1-4
If you are like me, you recall with great fondness the stories shared with you in the laps of grandparents. Whether they were silly made up stories, family history, or the way your young heart experienced the Bible stories which would form your world view. Stories, spoken by the voices of our loved ones, formed us. Can’t you hear the tales being woven by the voices of those who may no longer live? While we are temporal, stories go on. The oral tradition of telling the stories of God, is as important to the Christian faith, as those more acknowledged and practiced in modern houses of faith. The call to HEAR the word, implies that there is a TELLING.
In the short public ministry of Christ, He moved people, giving complex insights to those listening through simple stories. Parables are a prominent aspect of Christ’s teachings, and we marvel today at how these stories are so layered with meaning. As our knowledge and wisdom increase, the impact of the message meets us where we are. Such is the beauty of God’s story, it is for everyone, where ever they may be on their faith journey.
But the storytelling does not end at the lips of Jesus. In fact, the encouragement for each of us to be storytellers is seen again and again throughout the Bible—“Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” ( Mark 5:19) “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.” (Psalm 66:16) I love the truth from Hebrews that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is writing the story we get to tell. How beautiful to think that all of history is His Story. A story we get to tell, to our people, by our talents.
This past Sunday, along with a handful of friends, our family enjoyed Steven Curtis Chapman’s Solo Tour. Throughout the night he told his life story, infusing how as he, the artist, was making his plans, The Author, was directing his path. Chapman shared how through the highs and lows, God was revealing Himself in powerful ways. Through the stories of his life, Chapman was telling just how much the Lord had done.
Stephen and Juliette Trafton, of Living-Letters.com, gifted with powerful voices and artistic ability, present The Word through dramatic performances, bringing to life scripture, telling God’s Story with the talents He gifted them. Living Letters enables the audience to experience scripture as it was originally intended. An extension of their performance storytelling is the power of their life story as they share their lives with their community in New York City.
Your bookcases may be filled with the works of C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and other masterful writers who weave stories with themes taken from The Story. Filling our minds, and the minds of our children with the stories of God can enrich our faith, as well as our relationships with one another. But I am not a songwriter like Steven Curtis Chapman, nor a performer like the Traftons. Although I fancy myself a writer, I currently lack the mastery of language of Lewis and Tolkien. But I can sit my children on my lap and tell them the story of Jesus. I can encourage them to be storytellers themselves, by asking them how they saw God working in their lives today. I can share with you how in my failings I am extended redemption, time and time again, because that is the kind of God I serve. I can be paying attention to the story the Author is writing in my life and share it. That is why I write.
And that is why I listen. Won’t you share your story in the comments below?