Mona Lisa In A Plastic Orange Frame

He told them a story. Then he told them another one.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed,” he said. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast kneaded into dough.”

Jesus told them stories meant to help their souls awaken to the life to which he came to invite them. He told them stories that held up a mirror that allowed them an unfiltered look at who some of them really were, instead of who they pretended to be.

I’ve been thinking about the way in which we tell stories about God to one another in the church. Those stories are important. I struggle to remember the verbal unfurling of information in sermon or teaching, no matter how masterfully done, but a story will stick with me like a deer tick burrowed into my imagination. Jesus knew we needed stories.

Sometimes the stories we tell about God get obscured by our own brokenness. A few years ago, a visiting pastor launched his sermon with a couple of “my buddies and I were on the back nine at our golf club when this amusing incident took place” stories. More recently, I listened to a message by a pastor who took a week of retreat each summer by booking a private cabin on a ship crossing the Atlantic. He then flew back across the pond in time to give the weekend messages at his church.

I don’t rue them the blessings their anecdotes described. However, whatever the point of their respective messages was, it was lost on me…[Read more]

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