When my children were small and it was time for bed, we had, as many families do, a ritual story time together. Sometimes they would ask me to tell them about my life when I was growing up, sometimes it would be a selected book but sometimes we would collectively create our own made up story. Lying in their beds with only the dim glow of the eternal nightlight, I would begin….. Once upon a time.”
The story that began to come alive wasn’t all that interesting nor creative. What was of value was watching them in eager anticipation of joining in, eager to move it forward, eager to be apart of the whole. And so they did.
Beginning I would set the scene and perhaps the characters and then stop. Immediately one of the kids would jump in to add their own twists and turns. Speaking from their own place of nonsense, reality and fantasy, weaving and extending the story until at some place they too would stop and wait for a brother or sister to continue until all had spoken and the story was born.
How important it is that each of us help tell the story, our story and Jesus story. From our places of nonsense and reality we are encouraged to tell and share the story into the larger context of our living and our dying. To tell our story in the context of God’s grace in order to see we really are more alike than we are different, in order to develop a unity and cohesiveness for and with each other.
In my time at LCM I have had the opportunity to hear stories, your stories. Stories of fear, hope, joy, disappointment and love. It is important that we share our stories ground in the love of Christ. In telling our story you not only connect the past with the present but you help give vision and hope for the promised future.
I miss those story nights with my children, but I am also encouraged that the tradition continues in their lives and the lives of their children yet today.
The hymn writer reminds us, “I Love To Tell The Story of Jesus and His Love.” May it also be so among us.
Pastor Mike Grabenstein