In the last several newsletters I have shared several important things about stories:
Stories can communicate great truths, often without our awareness, like in The Wizard of Oz. How clear are any of us about the one thing we most need, but also how and where to find it?
Stories can penetrate our defenses and denial and communicate the very thing we need to hear, when so much in us resists the truth, like King David.
Stories, which are so completely different on the surface, have more in common than not, if you only take the time to reflect and consider the more general themes.
And most incredibly, God’s story, the story He tells in the Bible, has found its way into a great many other stories, seemingly, “on its own.”
The last point is very important. It begs the question: “What is God’s story?”
The Bible is a very long book with a countless cast of characters and events that occur over thousands of years. Can it all be summarized in one simple story? And if it could, would such an ancient story still apply to humanity today, with all that has happened over the millennia, as far as we have come?
Once upon a time, a man had something to say about this. His name was King Solomon:
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV
Really? Nothing new under the sun. Ever? Not the best news for us, I don’t think. But if it’s true, it would make our discussion a lot simpler.
We like to think we are so smart these days. It may have all started with the invention of the wheel. That guy must have really thought he was something, but all he really did was notice how much quicker a round rock rolled down the hill than a square one.
It took a while, but eventually there was the industrial revolution, the birth of machines. And now, computers, smart phones, the internet, and even AI? My oh my, how far we’ve come. Is there any limit to what we can accomplish?
But if King Solomon was right, he must have been talking about something else, for anyone could foresee that humanity would continue to make new discoveries and invent more things. I don’t think Solomon believed nothing would ever change, just nothing essential.
And so, what is essential about humanity? What is it that truly defines us? What is it that makes us human?
Is it not our hearts and everything that resides there: our hopes and dreams; our need to love and be loved; and our morality, our sense of right and wrong? Are these not what separate us from the beasts?
And how should our essence impact how we live our lives? God had this to say through the prophet Micah:
“And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Does anyone really think that in 2023 we are more just, more kind or more humble than we have ever been in the past? Are there any less wars, any less atrocities, any less violence, any less hatred in this world? Have we ever truly changed . . . at all?
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun.”
Welcome, I'm Sam!
A fellow traveler on this journey we call life and this path we call the Christian faith, wanting to speak to anyone who will listen about the incredible things that God (only because of His incredible grace) chose to reveal to me. Stories have always been a mirror in which we can see ourselves, if we only look more closely. We are all like the children of Israel in the wilderness, wanting and needing to establish ourselves in the promised land. Stories can help us to get there, and to flourish there.
I can't wait to get to know you!