We all know someone who is a great story teller. Maybe we haven’t actually given them that title, but they are the person in your social circle that gets the most air time, simply because they can make anything interesting. You might even find yourself eavesdropping on a conversation at your local cafe because one of these ‘story tellers’ is talking away and you can’t help but listen.
Some of us are more captivated with stories than others. I would consider myself a reader and movie watcher, but I have some friends who get enveloped in the story – hooked, line and sinker, with all the emotions that come with it.
Stories intrigue us. Stories excite us. Stories teach us. Stories challenge us. Stories Encourage us. Stories guide us. Some stories more than others.
At The Village we’ve chosen STORY as one of our three highlighted values. We feel like it’s what keeps us together, what leads us, what shapes our faith. Of course, not just any story, but the gospel story – the Jesus story.
If your family was like mine, the kitchen table saw lots of wear. We were around that table for hours on end. When company was over we’d hear stories from our guests; my parents reiterated stories from their past; my siblings and I would share stories of what happened during the day. For some cultures this is where identity is formed and character is built. For the church, our story and identity is also formed at a (communion) table and around a story.
In his book called, ‘From Tablet to Table’
, Len Sweet says much about how stories are important to culture and to faith. Things like…
“The table is an important part of our acquaintance with God’s
story and ours”
“We don’t crave principles & props, but a story that helps
us understand the world, ourselves and God better.”
“We are stories with skin on”
In the Scripture we read about people discovering God’s story for the world. Over and over again people’s stories connect and intersect with God’s story. Perhaps that’s why we describe our value like this, “We value God’s story, we value your story and we value how those two stories come together” For some this encounter is smooth, for others it’s more of a messy exchange, but for everyone it’s like two worlds are colliding, God’s and ours. That’s where the beauty is – in the intersection, in the collision, sometimes even in the mess.
Why are we drawn to ‘this’ story, to God’s story, to Jesus’ story? Because his story is true and it changes the world. C.S. Lewis said something like this many years ago, “Now the story of Christ is simply a true
myth: a myth working on us the same way as the others, but with this tremendous
difference that it really happened:”
Paul confronted this ‘true’ story and it threw him off his horse, literally. We read about Paul’s collision a few times in Acts. Jesus got his attention, and Paul was never the same after that. He changed. He went from signing off on murders to going through hell so others could find life. His dramatic conversion story is one example of what it means for God’s story and ours to intersect.
Of course we read of others in the scripture who connect with God in amazing ways: Moses at the burning bush, Jacob at Peniel, the cripple in Mark 2 who crashed a Jesus party (literally) to see if this Jesus’ story was as true and powerful as people were saying, etc. In all of these, God’s story embraces us, moves us, draws us – He values where we come from, but loves us so much that he redirects us in a better direction.
What about you? What about us? How is our story connecting to God’s story?
What about those of us who are further along the way? Do we value others story as God values ours?
We want to be a church community who values God’s story more than anything, and who love and appreciate where people are coming from when they meet Jesus for the first time. We want to be known as a safe place, a loving community, where people can engage this amazing gospel story together with us.