We all like a good story!
We explain ourselves and understand our world by the stories we tell and the stories we listen to. Many of us during this third lockdown may have been reading more to escape from the pain around us. Maybe we are reading our Bibles, poetry and prose to reimagine the world we now live in and to give our days routine, structure and purpose. We are surrounded by narratives that have the power to reshape our lives.
The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy –
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus….
I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message;
whether the time is favourable or unfavourable;
convince, rebuke, encourage,
with the utmost patience in teaching”.
(2 Timothy 4: 1 – 2)
In these words, Paul encourages Timothy to keep pressing home the story, the message, of the Good News of Jesus. In other words, tell people his story of how Jesus has changed his life and how Jesus can change other lives too. People need to be told how Jesus has the power to heal and transform the lives of ordinary people.
This doesn’t have to be more complicated than sharing the stories of our daily life with a friend about how you feel God’s blessing listening to the dawn chorus or watching a beautiful sunset. Love and beauty and our senses are a gift from God. Sharing our personal God-centred stories with somebody explaining how you feel God’s presence walking along the beach has the power to inspire and change.
In his 1972 novel, “A Story Like the Wind”, Laurens Van der Post writes:
“The story is like the wind,” the Bushman prisoner said, “It comes from a far-off place, and we feel it.”
I like the image contained in these words of how the words of a story travel mysteriously in the wind of time from a strange place and yet the story can be felt deep within a person’s soul and change the present circumstances.
So, as we share in conversation our own life story with friends and strangers alike, we allow the Holy Spirit in our lives and between us to awaken our need to find purpose in God’s presence.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 some analysis was done to see how people had coped with the trauma of having their world disappearing around them.
It was observed how Christians coped well because the stories of God’s Covenant and the kingdom of God contained within the Bible gave people of faith not only hope but stability in an ever-changing world.
So, Paul was right to encourage Timothy to press home at every opportunity to share the Good News story of Jesus. We would be wise to do the same.
With every blessing.
Reverend John Gordon.