We sat over our morning coffee, discussing last night’s episode of Bones, one of our favorite TV series, and half way through our conversation, I started to laugh, because I realized that we were talking about what happened in the lives of the characters in that story as though they were real – as though they were our friends or relatives! We were that interested in what had happened to them! I remember my mother was the same way when I was growing up. Every day, I would find her glued to the TV set, watching Days of Our Lives and As the World Turns, and later, I would hear her on the phone, talking about what went on like they were family! It didn’t take me long to learn not to call my sister when her “stories” were on, either! I know people who would not miss a night of Duck Dynasty or Downton Abbey for the life of them, and know that we are not the only ones who schedule our lives around our TV shows. Rather than miss a week, I hear people inviting their friends to come and watch a particular program with them, and the excitement in their voices, and the way their eyes light up when they talk about it does indeed convince their friends to come and see! They are so animated when they tell the story that others can’t resist checking it out for themselves! And it struck me… what if we loved the stories in the Bible that much? What if we scheduled our other activities around worship time because we didn’t want to miss the next episode? And, what if we were so passionate about the story we heard last Sunday that we were calling up our friends and telling them about it in a way that made them want to come and hear it for themselves?
It’s so easy to tune out when the lessons seem like a rehash of the same, old story with an “Oh, that again!” sigh. And, yet, we watch re-runs of Bones and The Big Bang Theory night after night, and never get tired of them! That is the challenge for all of us Christians: to love the story so much that we never get tired of hearing it and telling others about it. And that can only happen when we are so familiar with the story that the Biblical characters become like family, and we care about what happens to them, because it is our story, too.
Part of the call of a preacher is to search the scriptures and study and pray for divine inspiration in order to tell the good news of Jesus in new and creative ways. But that is only half the story. The other half is up to the listener, whose job it is to listen to the old stories with new ears. It takes both – the Word spoken and heard – for the story to come alive, to move our hearts, and to bring us to laughter or reduce us to tears. And it is only then, when it has become real, that we will love the story so much that we end up telling others about it without even trying. It just ends up as a natural part of our conversations.
Jesus said that the story of his life, suffering, death and resurrection would spread over the whole world, starting with his little band of followers in Jerusalem. And it did! That is a pretty good story in itself, don’t you think? I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next!
The Bible – on my list of Good Reads for the Summer!
Blessings, Pastor Barb <>< “You will be my witnesses .” Acts 1:8