March 2019

When we live in the depth of scripture, especially the parables of Jesus, we live in the wisdom of story, and the ways faithful people have been candid, truthful, and learning from life’s journeys. When we write and share our stories openly, truthfully, and candidly, we can see how God is at work in our lives too, even (especially) the worst parts of them. By sharing our stories in faithful ways, we are more able to connect with others, and they with us. I recently attended a retreat in which the main presenter was a student of a professor I also had learned from. The focus of the retreat and our professor’s work was on story telling. Originally the Bible was not read, so much as it was told and acted in story-telling form. When it was shared, the stories were brought to life, which make it easy for people weave their own life journeys into its passages. When it comes to the Bible, we’ve heard so many of the stories, so many times, that we often forget to ask some basic, insightful questions about what people go through when we choose to follow God and Christ. During the season of Lent, we will again host Wednesday evening services and our focus this year will be on the meaning of stories and how they bless and enrich our lives of faith. In any given story, we are likely to identify most with one of the characters; as we grow older, the person we identify the most with may change or shift, because of our own life experiences. As Christians we want to do more than learn about God, Jesus and the disciples; we want to know them in personal ways. The more we come to know them personally, the more likely we are to bring the same blessings into our lives every day, and share our faith as God intends. We know the scriptures are full of great stories; knowing which ones personally mean the most to us, and then considering why they touch us, can help us grow in our faith and our relationships with God in Christ in new ways. We learn how to connect with each other in real friendships. We also gain a sense of story through music; songs tell stories and bless ours, helping us express our emotions in healthy ways. Every person has a story; they make life worthwhile and help us understand life’s meaning. Hoping to tell their stories has kept many people alive and engaged, believing the challenges they faced will help someone who listens. Jesus didn’t just come along and give us a new set of laws or rules to follow; Jesus taught using parables that engage our minds and hearts. They inspire as they affirm empathy and compassion. From Scripture’s examples, we learn and are empowered to tell the whole story, candidly and truthfully. God’s love and mercy makes it possible. God leads us away from gossip that seeks to control or even destroy relationships, to move to being a faithful, trusting people. So I hope that you will join us for our services every Wednesday in Lent, as the story of Jesus Christ is woven into our stories of life and faith. – Tim