Last evening we were invited to supper. Our host knew me in college in the 70″s, he a freshman and I a senior. I of course, a senior, did not know him. We didn’t meet until 1997 when we both were hired to teach at a new school. I was from a city nearby, he was a life-long resident of the area.
At the supper party, my husband and I were joined by another fellow teacher and a writer/ illustrator for children’s books; he had been a good friend of my late sister. I was the only female present. I felt so special. This combination of folk provided us all with an evening of storytelling, laughing, giggling, eating, and touring our host’s lovely home. He is a historian and his home is almost like a museum. We had the tour, but honestly, it would take days to see all he has accumulated; many of the treasures he has lovingly preserved are his family’s.
This special man will never know how much I treasure his friendship over the past eighteen years. He is the teacher that always had that zinger at the faculty meeting that broke us all up. Truth be known, more than just me looked forward to faculty meetings just to hear what he might say!
A storyteller telling the God’s Truth; all those listening to him either know the subject of his story, or have known about them in the past, or know without a doubt these stories are true; no one could make ’em up!
I’ve always said he needs to write these stories; but writing them down is just one part; it’s his delivery that lends authenticity; a little bit of this … a dash of that … told with accents that tickle your funny bone. Over the years I always managed to get close to his table at faculty luncheons or parties, knowing that table would have the most fun! I love him and am blessed to have known him now and in the past.
Stories are part and parcel of growing up. Whether told orally, or read aloud from picture books, stories inform, delight, intrigue, teach, and stretch our imaginations. The best teachers to my mind are those that can capture the imagination through the telling of stories.
Jesus was such a teacher. His stories, or parables, taught important lessons in a language his followers could understand. Delighted, His listeners sat, stood, or climbed trees to hear Him teach. While the parables describe life in those days, essential life lessons can be learned. Taken at face value the stories entertain; digging deeper, the stories tell who God is, who man is in relationship to God, and how life is to be lived, by following Jesus’ example; the way, the truth, and the life, is revealed to those who believe, trust, have faith, and live their lives according to God’s Holy Word.
Thank You, Dear Lord, for knowing how Your children of all ages learn best. Thank You for keeping Your teachings simple and clear. Thank You for inspiring others to record Your teachings in the Good Book we now know as the Bible. You clearly show us how to live, as the Bible is an instruction book for life lived now, and life lived eternally. Help me understand these stories; take my hand and lead me from an avid listener, to a faithful doer in Your Kingdom. Amen
Matthew 13:10-17 The Message
The disciples came up and asked, “Why do you tell stories?”
He replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it. I don’t want Isaiah’s forecast repeated all over again:
Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing.
Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears
so they won’t have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
so they won’t have to look,
so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face
and let me heal them.
“But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance.”
This is a lovely hymn I learned as a child.
Tell Me the Stories of Jesus
Author: William H. Parker, 1885
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
First let me hear how the children stood round His knee,
And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;
Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,
All in the love light of Jesus’ face.
Tell me, in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea,
Tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee;
And how the Maker, ready and kind,
Chided the billows, and hushed the wind.
Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand.
One of His heralds, yes, I would sing
Loudest hosannas, Jesus is King!
Tell how the sparrow that twitters on yonder tree,
And the sweet meadow-side lily may speak to me—
Give me their message, for I would hear
How Jesus taught us our Father’s care.
Show me that scene in the garden, of bitter pain.
Show me the cross where my Savior for me was slain.
Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.