Pastoral Ponderings— I Love to Tell the Story
As I was driving through Cuyahoga Falls this morning, I saw a couple well-dressed folk standing on the sidewalk in front of a café. I was wondering what I was seeing, until I stopped at the light. I could see they had some kind of literature stand, but it was facing away from the street. I was still wondering until I saw a label for something like Bible teachings. Even the preacher that I am, I thought it a bit odd these days to have such a thing set up on the sidewalk that seemed to be no special place or event, with them, I suppose, trying to “tell the story,” though no one was walking by.
My dad always said the song “I Love to Tell the Story” was his favorite hymn, and the energy that comes out when we sing it at Twin Falls, it seems it’s a favorite for a lot of our family here, too! But do we really “love to tell the story”? How often do we actually tell the story to those in our lives outside of the church walls? It was likely easier in years past to be able to share our story, but times are changing, aren’t they?
We have all kinds of practices—for sports, dance, other competitions, public speaking, which of course makes us both more confident and competent with whatever we practice. Why don’t we ever have practice for telling the story we claim to love to share so much? Now I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those “street preacher” types, and though I’ve been with groups that share fliers with passers by and knocked on doors, I recognize that may not be the most effective or feasible these days. So how do we share the story?
I’m starting a stewardship series in worship that is built on our church membership vows. Most of us are likely familiar with the vows we made when joining some United Methodist Church in your past, to support the church with “our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service.” In 2008, the UMC added “witness” to those vows, recognizing that, with our changing culture, what had been long assumed had been falling from practice, and needed to be made explicit again, that Jesus’ call to “love your neighbor,” necessarily includes sharing the best of Good News one can hear—that our imperfect love is a mere faulty reflection of God’s perfect love, that brings hope and light to every wounded life.
As a part of this series, I’d like to help us have a little practice—NOT with street preaching or sharing fliers, but with sharing our own story in our own way of God’s transforming grace in Jesus. So if you do “Love to Tell the Story”—might you be able to share for about 90 seconds with your church family? Especially if you have a good story about your prayers, presence, gifts, service or witness.
Let me know, but don’t be surprised if I ask! Do we love to tell the story? Maybe a little practice will help!
Keep being a blessing as you do in SO many ways, and let’s tell the story we love so much!