|Living the Story…
There’s power in story. I had the privilege of attending the beautiful wedding this weekend of Chris Poest and Elizabeth Bjorling – Congratulations! The ceremony was filled with the symbolism of God’s love, the love of two people who have become best friends, and the love and joy of family and friends. Elizabeth told the story of the ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. She identified herself in the story as one who has patiently waited on God for the bridegroom to come. Following the wedding ceremony friends and family gathered to hear more stories: stories from family members; stories from college and seminary friends; stories from congregational members; stories from other colleagues in ministry. Stories make for powerful memories. And it’s powerful memories that give meaning and context to life.
That’s even more true with the Bible. There is great power in learning and living the story of God’s grace in a way that brings life. In the church we often get caught up in spending our energy focusing on preserving our sacred traditions and preferred preferences. The sacrifice we make is that we lose our real power. It’s the power of story, the old, old story of God’s love.
It’s an honest story too. It’s a story of God’s faithful love in spite of the people who messed up and let God down. When addressing the Corinthian church, Paul makes no bones about the fact that they were messing up. They were struggling with living the Christian life in a pagan world. They were eating meat formerly sacrificed to idols (which Paul assures them is no problem) and tinkering with pagan worship while they were at it (which, on the other hand, is a big problem). And he uses the power of story to help them understand their own story of struggle.
He retells the story of Exodus, when the Israelites were led out of Egypt into the wilderness en route to the Promised Land. God was faithful but they really messed up. They worshipped idols and tinkered with pagan religions. And they paid for it, too. Paul was saying that “these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” (I Corinthians 10:6) So straighten up, Corinthians. Let God’s story set you straight.
Most of us in the faith community are guilty of tinkering with things God would have us leave well enough alone. There are many good-hearted Christians who climb the success ladder, idolize money and things, gossip and lie, look at pornography, you name it. Sometimes a person cannot rid himself/herself of these things on their own. But God can heal all of us of our desires for evil. Get in touch with the story. He can do for you and me what he has done for others. Let God bring healing and cleansing and a way out of darkness. Paul reminds us: “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (NRSV)
– Wayne Van Regenmorter
4: Ridder Conference Call
6: Meeting/Cedar Lake, IN
7: Meeting/Crown Point, IN
9: Sunday Worship
10: KEZ Conference Call
12: Meeting/Schererville, IN
14: Skype/Consistory Meeting/Reformed Community Church/Venice, FL
16: Preach/Faith Church Beecher Campus/Beecher, IL
Wayne’s contact information:
10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281