by Jake Hall
published in Family Matters e-newsletter, 1/9/14
I love our sanctuary. It is a place of reflection, worship, and beauty. I love to see it teeming with life, pews packed with our gathered church family. However, I find that I am most challenged by the space when it is empty. Empty spaces have stories to tell. I always seem to hear the echo of past hymns still ringing in the room, a whisper of Fanny Crosby: "Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word; Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard."
Stories matter. Stories about Jesus matter because they shape people's lives as well as the community of people in a congregation. The reverse is also true. The community of people in a congregation shapes the way the story of Jesus is told. It is reflexive like that. "We tell the story by which we are told." That means that getting the story of Jesus right matters. But it also means that our stories—our history, our life—matter, too, in the telling of the good news.
Lawrence Peers writes: "Congregations are primarily interpretive communities, seeking new meanings in familiar stories and enduring wisdom for contemporary challenges. Moreover, congregations not only interpret stories of faith together, congregations are stories—each with its own characters and story line, dramas, and dilemmas." I love hearing about the history of this congregation and the particular families that fill our fellowship. Each day I find that I am eager to know more.
So, tell me, what is your story? What is your story about life in Macon, your journey with God, or in the church. I really want to know. Let's talk. Let's meet for coffee, or send me an email or text or tweet. Our stories matter all the more when we realize that our very lives are a part of God's story for the world.