Saturday, May 28, 2011

June Newsletter

Spin me a story in spinning you'll find.
One strand is yours another is mine.
Each alone has beauty to see;
reflecting the joys of what we believe.
Only when shared do stories take form.
Join in the telling a new strand is born.
By weaving the fabric a richness we'll see,
woven into God's great tapestry.
(“Spin Me a Story” verse 1 ©1991 Nancy Chegus)
Whether it is as our child heads off to bed, or gathering friends and family to remember a loved one, or at a faith gathering, or simply something to read as we relax on the beach we are story-people. Despite all the science and technology we use everyday it is stories that really tell us who we are. And so we all have stories to share.

This is especially true for us as people of faith. Our faith is not passed on through complex theological concepts or philosophies. Our faith is passed on through stories, stories from Scripture, stories from the life of our denomination, stories from our congregation, and our own stories of exploring faith, of encountering God in our lives. And so we have stories to share.

150 years ago Katherine Hankey wrote these words:
I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.
I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.
(“I Love to Tell the Story” verses 2 & 4)
Hankey knew something too many of us have forgotten. She knew that as people of faith we have a responsibility to tell the stories of faith to the people around us. And just like the stories we tell at family gatherings it really doesn't matter if people are hearing them for the first time or for the 100th time. We all have those stories we love to hear over and over again – like the child who knows her favourite story book by heart but still wants it read every night.
In theological language telling the stories of faith is called evangelism, sharing the Good News. That is a word we tend not to use much these days. But it is my considered opinion that we need to reclaim our evangelical heritage. We need to start telling our faith stories more. We need to tell our faith stories to help each other grow stronger in faith, to deepen our relationship with the Holy One. We need to tell our faith stories so that people we have not yet met can hear how our relationship with the Holy One has changed our lives. We need to be sharers of Good News, not to increase the number of people in church or dollars in the plate, but because we are people of story. Only if we share our stories can we share our understanding of God's vision for the world in which we live, in which we do our ministry.
Spin me a world that is free from all wrong.
Peacefulness reigns, all conflict is gone.
Hungry souls are fed by our love,
inspired by the hope of the dove.
This is God's world for us to weave.
Picture the future then start to believe.
Spin me a story in spinning you'll find,
one strand is yours, another is mine
(“Spin me a Story” verse 3)
What stories will we share as we try to live out this life and world transforming faith we call Christianity?
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
(“I Love to Tell the Story” refrain)

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