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Story Telling as Worship and Witness

. 3 min read

2013/11/27 Mountain Top Community Thanksgiving @ Cornerstone

Message, Deuteronomy 26.1-11 and Mark 5.1-20

 

Personal Intro & thanks to Tom and Stephanie, to God for
bringing us here

So many things we could talk about today:

            wholistic
understanding of person & healing – exorcism & healing

            political
statement – Legion, boar

            generosity –
first fruit, tithe … in the context of the generosity of God

But the focus today is on Story Telling as Worship &
Witness

Worship: A Larger Story

            Church –
Eucharistic feast, Holy Communion – on the night …

            Israel – feast
of firstfruits, and other feasts – matched with story

                        “A
wandering Aramean was my ancestor” (Deuteronomy 26.5)

Our ancestors, family story:

            Wilson the
orphan and coal miner, standing at his son’s baptism

                        because
of Wilson, the
family “came into the land” of college ed

            Sandbank
the smuggler and pirate?

                        because
of him, the family “came into the land” of the USA, NYC

The family story, like most, also includes alcoholism,
secrecy, abuse, mental illness.  There
are many ways in which the telling of the story is not pretty.  And, there are many ways in which the telling
of the story is absolutely glorious.  It’s
human, through and through, and touched by God.

And what of our “wandering Aramean”, our faith ancestor
Abraham?  When Abe and his wife Sarah are
in Egypt,
Pharoah takes an interest in Sarah, so Abe says, “No, she’s not my wife, just
my sister”.  When he and Sarah struggle
with infertility, he sleeps with one of the servants to produce an heir.  (This is what you call “biblical marriage”!)  It’s not pretty, and it is absolutely glorious.  It is completely human and touched by
God.  If you think you’re life, your
family history, is crazy messed up, full of potholes, flaws, and bold sin …
join the club.  You’ll fit in just fine
with Abraham.  You’ll fit in just fine
with the grace of God in our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we gather and tell these stories, we don’t ignore the
warts.  We don’t hide the uncomfortable
details.  Our focus, however, is on our
God.  This is story telling as
WORSHIP.  The story is not the story

            of human
evil, but the story of divine grace. 

            of our
failure, but our forgiveness. 

In worship, we learn to take our stories and fit them into
God’s larger one.

Witness: Understanding by Remembering

            Children
learning to tell stories, alter them, play with them

                        Jesse:
Labyrinth and Minotaur

            PTSD,
practice of telling the story gives us power over it, like the manipulation of
a dream – remember/dismember

            Philemon 6,
NIV, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will
have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” – the way to
understanding is sharing, retelling, remembering

            The man
from Gerasa wants to join Jesus’ disciple band, proclaims himself a follower of
Jesus.  Jesus offers an unexpected
discipleship path: “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord
has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you” (Mark 5.19)

My story:

            lost in Laos, my “angel”

            far from
God (God not far from me)

Practicing our
Story-Telling