Are stories just for kids?

posted Aug 30, 2018, 4:47 PM by Cameron Hubanks

Are stories just for kids?

I suppose it depends on the “story” because stories run the gamut from trivial to life-changing.

There are personal stories – the story about Grandpa and how he died young and how that shaped life for Dad and his siblings. There are community stories – the story about what happened when the bypass was built around the town and how it seemed that businesses shriveled and slowly died afterwards. There are stories that come from books – everything from Dr. Seuss’s story of the Lorax to Dostoyevsky’s story of the Brothers Karamazov. Stories are sometimes generic – “You need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps” – and sometimes very specific – “Everything started to fall apartin this family when Grandma got sick and started drinking.”

Some stories hardly ever get told – either because it’s assumed everyone already knows them, orperhaps because they are embarrassing, and we hope they’ll be forgotten. National stories can be like this – there are the stories of valor from the Revolutionary War or the Marshall Plan reconstruction of Europe and there are stories of shame like how the native people were usually treated by European settlers and the history of Jim Crow laws and their devastating impact on black people in the early decades of the 20th Century.

Stories can inspire, stories can shame, stories can motivate, stories can deflate.

Christian faith is itself a story. And depending on how thoroughly we know and embrace the story it either changes us from the inside out, or else it becomes a curiosity that we set on the fireplace mantel while letting our deepest values and priorities be derived from elsewhere.

I’m guessing that most of us really do intend to be shaped by the values of Jesus. But unfortunately, in thousands of churches like ours, our connection with the Christian story – the stories of the Bible, if you will – has grown weak and thin. Our most fundamental values have been more shaped by Wall Street (money matters most), or by Washington, DC (power matters most) or by Hollywood (pleasure matters most) than they have been shaped by Jesus (love of God and love of neighbor matters most).

Can this state of affairs be turned around? I think it can be, but it takes determination and discipline. It takes the willingness to relearn our own story and to be open to the possibility that some of theways we think and live aren’t pleasing to God and need to be changed.

This process starts, I think, with getting back in touch with the basics of the Christian story.

Therefore, starting in September we’ll have a three-prong emphasis on Bible story. For 36 weeks(with some breaks for Christmas and Holy Week), we’ll focus on 36 central stories – Bible stories – in worship, in Sunday School, and in Confirmation.

I hope this sounds interesting and important. I hope you’ll do your best to participate in as much ofthis survey of the Bible as you possibly can. We’ll start September 16. The first story is predictable: Creation! See you in worship!

Blessings to each of you!

Rich Pleva, Pastor