The Voyager: Encouragement for Life's Journey
Below you will find articles from our Church's leadership meant to encourage you and give you insight into questions about life, faith, and God.
The Stories Jesus Told
"At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and
have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
There is something about a story that connects with the heart of its hearer in a way
that didactic teaching cannot. Perhaps that is why Jesus told so many stories, which the Bible calls parables. The parables of Jesus have been a favorite subject of theologians and Sunday school teachers alike. They are memorable and relatable. The metaphors and allegories of the parables can be adapted to our own culture and circumstances. However, if we are not careful we may miss Jesus’ meaning, why he told stories, and what they really say to us today.
I know that you probably have no desire to distort the meaning of Scripture, but we
all tend to read from our own context and on our own terms. We want the Bible to speak to us in our world with our lenses and our preconceived ideas. This is something we don’t require of any other story. One thing my childhood fairy tales have taught me is that we all have the capacity to surrender to the story and let it take us on its own adventure. We have the same opportunity with the Bible. I have learned that I must be willing to surrender to the story of the Gospels before the story can truthfully speak to my life. The Bible wants to speak to me on its own terms and from its own context. Those of you who are new to the Bible may actually have an advantage over those of us who have grown up with it as a part of our daily life. You probably aren’t sure what to expect, where I, and others like me, had it all figured out a long time ago. We know the stories by heart. We can tell you what they say and what Jesus meant because we’ve been told by people we trust what to expect. Those kinds of expectations rob us of the experience of exploration and fresh adventure.
As a student of theology and teacher the temptation is to mull over the meaning of
Scripture in my mind, to study every word looking for a deeper meaning, to try to
condense the story down to practical points I can give my students to take home and
apply. However, if we are to surrender to the story we must engage more than our
minds, we must engage at the heart level and allow our heart to respond.
God’s Word is meant to be experiential. So what do you experience when you
enter the story of Jesus’ life and ministry as told in the Gospels? Maybe you see Jesus
as a Gandhi figure bringing peace and happiness to all. Do you picture yourself sitting at the feet of the gentle teacher? Maybe you see Jesus as the miracle man, the knight in shining armor, or maybe you don’t know what to make of him. Maybe the stories are so familiar that they are little more than ink on a page. Maybe you feel guilty because you know you’re supposed to be getting something from your Bible but overall you just can’t seem to engage. Wherever you are starting from, it’s time to lay down your past experiences, preconceived ideas, and expectations. It’s time to humbly ask, “who does the story tell us Jesus is?” It’s time to pray, “Holy Spirit, show us Jesus in the story.”
There is an unexpected adventure waiting for us if we can lay down our expectations
and surrender to the story.
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