Who doesn’t love a good story?
As a boy I grew up in the countryside and in the absence of video games, mobiles phones and the internet I regularly had moments with friends where we would sit in wonder with the sound-effects of crickets and the soft glow of fireflies all around us, listening to rich stories. We covered our faces, we cried, we shouted when things got exciting. I was involved in the physicality of the story. My mind was always alive, imagining the scenarios.
But what makes a story epic?
I know for many people a great story is all about the plot. What is the sequence of things that are important? For others a good story is sometimes about the rules. What commands are important. What is the secret code that needs to be unlocked perhaps? Maybe a good story is all about me. It’s about my personal enrichment; so we ask ourselves questions like,
1. How can I live a better life.
2. What are some of the things that are important for me like, being financially stable, building a better home, being successful in the things I put my hands to.
In my last two posts we’ve looked at Jesus’ story in Luke 10 and over that time I started to realise something very important. The more I think about it, the more I see that what makes up a good story is actually not the bit parts. For example, any really good storyteller knows that the most important thing in the whole wide world is for the writer to have the ability to bring us the readers into the story.
That we feel the emotions.
That we get caught up in the rhythms
That we identify with the main characters in the drama.
A classic example is music. I loved buying CDs . I know today the mention of CDs sounds like a millions years ago. But there was something pretty special about it. The best bit for me was always sitting down, opening the package (that’s right, the package), taking off the wrapper and just looking at it. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 1998. Classic example. I remember sitting there looking at the artwork and thinking about how creative the artist was. It didn’t stop there. Inside the cover, was this sleeve that had every thing there is to know about the singer.
Who was in their band
Who was the producer
and very soon, beyond anything you could ever get for 99p, you were invited to listen, to dream and immerse yourself into the story of the creator.
I think so it is with God.
This story offers us the opportunity to taste and experience God. It’s so sad that sometimes all off that goodness gets lost because we make this story about other things;
Like plots and sequences. We’re always searching for the most important bits we should follow or that is more relevant for us. For others the story of God is all about rules. There’s this interest in questions that asks ,”what should we do? What should we not do? Sometimes, we believe with all our hearts that this story is all about us. It’s about Joel. How can I be a better leader. Perhaps I can be better by studying more, by being more disciplined? Our lives suddenly becomes this never ending battle where we try to frame all the bits of Gods grand story to our tiny human DNA. We’ve seen this so many times in mankind’s history where in the end – we end up all sweaty and edgy because we are constantly fighting for our corner to be recognised as supremely important.
What I absolutely love about God’s story is simply this.
This story has never been about us
This story is about God
We are not the subject.
We don’t need to invite God to anything
God has always been here
And all God asks, is that you and I immerse ourselves in it.
That you BE a part of what God is doing.
I want to return to that time, of the immersive story. The story that requires us to be still and know. A story that is connective, tangible. A living and breathing story. It’s a story that invites us to be active participants in a drama that is bigger than us. A story that is way bigger than our ambitions. To perhaps stop, break bread, eat. To care, to be unafraid to sit with those who’s stories are vastly different to our own.
This is the story I want to telL
What about you?