“Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” – remember singing that with gusto as a kid during the opening song time at Sunday School? Remember the stories: Jesus’ birth with visits to the stable by angels, shepherds, and Wiseman; his visit to the temple as a young boy; his walking on water out to the disciples in the boat; his feeding the five thousand with only five loaves and two fishes. And remember those Old Testament stories: Noah’s Ark, Joseph and the coat of many colors, Moses in the bulrushes and then his parting the Red Sea, David and Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den. . . . My mind’s eye still sees the colorful illustrations from the “Sunday School paper” that we brought home each Sunday. Stories truly bind us to the faith from a very young age.
Last month we had many family members with us as part of our 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Around the table or at the evening lakeside campfire, stories were told. Someone would start, “Remember when . . .” then the stories would begin with others adding their versions-not always remembered in exactly the same way, but nonetheless binding us together as family.
Recently, I have been an interviewer in the Appreciative Inquiry process. I and the other interviewers have been listening to and recording “Stories of St. Andrews”: a fledgling church sharing worship space at St. Phillips, everyone staying for Coffee Hour, worship in the tent, marching up the hill with bagpipes leading the way to the new church on the hill, Hanging the Greens and watching the church transform to Christmas glow, meeting people “just like me” over coffee and conversation, finding reassurance and grace in the quiet of worship prayers, feeling God’s presence in the sanctuary when surrounded by the beauty of nature, and remembering long after the sermon a story Rev. Anne had included. These and so many others truly bind us to our faith in this congregation of believers.
Bible stories, family stories, church stories all have the power to mold us in our faith leading to our joyously singing:
“I love to tell the story, ‘twill be my theme in glory, to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.”
Praise the Lord, Dianne Stephenson