Speaking of Life 2039 | Sing the Story Again
For a decade of my life, I worked with Youth for Christ, a worldwide youth movement engaging young people around the world with God’s story. In fact, their model for describing evangelism was called “Three Story Evangelism.” Three Story is a relational style of sharing the gospel showing how my story, my friend’s story and God’s story all overlap, and especially so in how the Lord of the universe is pursuing humanity.
The Old Testament writers were well aware of how God’s presence intersected in their collective stories. Notice these words from the prophet Isaiah:
Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the LORD. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many. Isaiah 51:1-2 (NRSV)
Isaiah’s words ring with a common biblical practice: memory. Remember who you are. Remember the quarry you were cut from, the story of Abraham and Sarah, the promise that they would outnumber the stars.
Throughout the Psalms, the poets retell the stories of the patriarchs and heroes to encourage the community. Or they sing through the truths of the faith to bring them back to mind. In many places, the psalmists sing praises for things God has brought them through. In other places, the psalmists encourage the community to hang on through hard times, knowing that God will show his faithfulness again.
When the early church met in homes, they told and re-told the stories of Jesus and read the letters of Paul and the other apostles. In a society in which only part of the people were literate, the stories would be memorized and recited to keep their new identity and new story in front of them.
And so, we meet today. We connect ourselves with the epic of gospel history as we meet to tell ourselves the great story. Then we encourage each other by sharing how God has entered our story in everything from mundane blessings to amazing red sea experiences in our lives. Telling and re-telling the story helps us to keep faith in focus.
How can we tell the story again today? How do we keep these truths in front of our mind’s eye? How can we, like the psalmist, look back to God’s goodness and look forward in trust?
Let’s sing the story of God’s goodness, again and again, until it becomes the theme and music of our entire lives.
I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.