Wednesday, October 24, 2012

tell me the old, old story

“Tell me the old, old story, Of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love…”
Interviewing Grace and David Maul
f you stop by this space often you already know how important the idea ofSTORY is to my writing and to my life. I listen to people’s stories; I am inspired by stories; I collect stories; I share stories with the world.
One of the commitments Rebekah and I have made to one-another is to be deliberate in our practice to live a better story. In fact, even our understanding of evangelism – of sharing the good news of Jesus – is simply the invitation into a better story, and to see our own story as a meaningful part of “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”
Sarasota, Oct 24, 2012
GATHERING: Some of you know that I have spent a lot of time over the past few years gathering different pieces of my parents’ story (and their story, of course, is a big piece of my own story). We had put the project on hold during my brother Geoff’s long struggle with cancer, but Tuesday lunchtime I drove down to Sarasota and we recorded our first session in almost two years.
SS Canberra – from Wikipedia
Yesterday’s topic turned out to be my mum and dad’s first few years living in the USA. They moved to Florida in January of 1981. On that momentous occasion – both to give the migration a distinction from more routine passages and to make it practical to bring more stuff – they crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a ship (the S.S. Canberra, if my memory serves me).
What struck me, early on in our conversation, was that my parents left England and moved to the USA when they were both younger than I am today. My dad was 52 and my mum was 49!
LIFE DEFINED BY… In my mind, my parents had always been defined by two things: their life in my hometown of Follkestone and my dad’s manufacturing business. However, now that it’s 2012 they’ve lived around Sarasota more years than they ever lived in Folkestone, and my dad had sold and then left FWMPlastics not long after he turned 50.
So – and I guess this is the question on my mind this morning – what does define a life?
  • Location and environment are a big deal, but evidently life is not defined by where you live, or the resources at your disposal.
  • My dad was Mr. Businessman for three decades, but the answer can’t be what you do to make a living.
  • Family is vitally important, and it can be a huge piece of the puzzle, but my parents lost their oldest child this year and yet they’re still 100% who they are.
Early this morning – Looking beyond ourselves and into eternity
SO WHAT is the THREAD of STORY? What I do whenever I listen to people, and ask questions that probe their core story, is to pay attention to the thread (sometimes it’s more like a mesh) that runs all the way through; it’s something that you can tug at gently and see that it begins to draw everything together; it’s like a strand of DNA.
For my parents that thread is faith. Not blind acquiescence to a narrow doctrine, or assent to a philosophy, or obligation to a religious code or ritual. But faith and trust in the character and the guiding goodness of a God who they know – actually and verifiably know – loves them unconditionally and literally inhabits the core of their being, their family, their hopes and the promise of their future.
Reading the story
This is something – the definitive thing – that transcends place, occupation, economics, health, and even life or death.
This is peace, the peace that passes our grasping or understanding, and the grace that overrules every circumstance and variation of human experience. It is their story.
And I pray that it is yours – DEREK
Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.
Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in,
That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.
Tell me the story softly, with earnest tones and grave;
Remember I’m the sinner whom Jesus came to save.
Tell me the story always, if you would really be,
In any time of trouble, a comforter to me.
Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear.
Yes, and when that world’s glory is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story: “Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

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