Stories take words and breaths and turn them into walls our egos crash into, and overstuffed chairs our souls rest in, and kitchen chairs where our hearts linger over coffee and donuts.
Stories teach best when they take the familiar to illustrate the unfamiliar. If your grandfather sat in a kitchen chair, lit at night when you visited while on vacation by a harsh fluorescent circle of light, lit at noon by the window by his right hand, if you walked in and saw him in that chair for coffee in the morning, then when someone speaks of kitchen chairs where hearts linger, your heart leaps and says, “I know.”
If, on the other hand, you met your grandfather for coffee on the floor of a tent, sand blowing by, camel near at hand, then the image of kitchen and chair leave you wondering.
So when Jesus says, “a farmer went out to sow his seed,” he had to be describing a scene that was as familiar as that morning’s walk. Because, after all, Jesus was the storyteller. He told stories and worlds existed. He told stories and people were.
For Jesus, stories matter.
We can go up two paths with our thoughts.
One is a road of application. It speaks of our own storytelling and says, “tell of what is familiar.” To teach with story is often to start in the kitchen rather than the chancel. Illuminate the infinite with the familiar.
The other is a road of reflection. Until writing this, I had never thought that perhaps the ordinary listener struggled with the stories not because they were so unfamiliar–as they are to us (what farmers sow? They all use 20 row planters)–but because they were so familiar.
Jesus told great stories to all. Only some said, “wait. What?”
2 thoughts on “everyday life”
We NEED stories.
I must say it’s sad that so many look to the TV for stories, myself included.
But it’s great that the Bible is always there, patiently waiting for us to dig into so many rich and deep stories.
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