Monday, April 19, 2010

Tell me the Story

This weekend, while meeting with my Sunday evening group, I asked participants to share something meaningful from the past couple of weeks. The conversation became a powerful testimony to the spiritual depth lived out in the lives of my friends.

One of them talked about a terrible tragedy a colleague had experienced. Long story short, the woman in question was invited to church for a Holy Week service. Before she went she said this to my friend: "I think I know what Easter's about, but I'm not sure; would you please tell me the story...?"

Wow! What a concept. Being invited to tell the story of Jesus. It gives me - as Rebekah would say - chilly-bumps!

The exchange reminded me of a conversation I had with a missionary - he was in Europe at the time (another long story, but he found a copy of "GET REAL" had a transformational experience, and tracked me down). The phrase he used about his own faith life was this: "Deep down, I knew that the stories I had been telling were getting older and older..."

As a child, growing up in England, one of my all-time favorite hymns went like this" "Tell me the stories of Jesus, I love to hear/ Things I would ask him to tell me, if he were here/ Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea/ Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.." (I've pasted the compete text at the end of this post)

Another member of our group said that her Easter experience with our church had left her "So full with God that it just started spilling out on people around me...."

She had a new story to share, and I'd like to think God is interested in updating our collection of stories on a daily basis.

That's one reason I shared the following as my "status update" on facebook this morning.
  • From a prayer by a wise African-American preacher who attended my retreat in Virginia: "Thank you, Lord, for this day - it's a day we've never seen before and that we'll never have again." My question - what are we going to do with such a gift?
Peace - DEREK
  1. Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear; Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here; Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea, Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
  2. First let me hear how the children stood round His knee, And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me; Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace, All in the love light of Jesus’ face.
  3. Tell me, in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea, Tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee; And how the Maker, ready and kind, Chided the billows, and hushed the wind.
  4. Into the city I’d follow the children’s band, Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand. One of His heralds, yes, I would sing Loudest hosannas, “Jesus is King!”
  5. Show me that scene in the garden, of bitter pain. Show me the cross where my Savior for me was slain. Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
(William H Parker, 1885)

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