Jesus told stories. And some of them weren’t even stories, but metaphors, or images. They were hints of stories, glimpses of something just out of reach. Some find these stories or images confusing. “Why doesn’t he just tell us plain?” Well, some things are too complex to be plain. Sometimes you have to share the bigger picture in order to see.
Worship this week is about growing into the new creation that we are called to be in Christ. So, think about talking about growing. Those who are raising kids find themselves telling stories about the latest thing, the latest mischief, the latest accomplishment that their child has gotten into. We need stories to help us see what living as a disciple is like. We tell our stories, and we tell stories of others as examples of a faithful life.
So make room for storytelling this week. We used to call it testimony. We tell our stories of faith. Yes, of course, this could get out of hand. Sometimes we like to hear ourselves talk. Or sometimes we don’t want to tell the deep dark secrets of our souls. Maybe some instructions on how to tell your testimony would be useful. Maybe some examples of those within the congregation who have a story to tell could be encouraged and given space to do so. What is it like to be made a new creation? What is it like to experience God’s love and forgiveness, to have a taste of the kin-dom in your own life? What glimpses of the kin-dom have you seen in your daily life and what ways have you been or experienced the sheltering shade of the branches of faith?
This is another week for giving thanks for the body, for the fellowship of faith that provides an example of living discipleship around us and before us. But also, a teaching tool to help others put their own story into words in a way that allows them to share. We all have growing to do, that’s true. Yet our example might just be the metaphor others need to help them understand and grow into faith too. Worship can also model how we tell our story in ways that are not intrusive or offensive to others, but an outgrowth of loving relationships of caring and service. Encourage the telling of stories. Our own stories of growth into the new creation might be the means of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.