Ever since the Regeneration Summit last month in Chicago, I can’t stop thinking about Dr. David Schmitt’s presentation, “Recover the Power of Story.” He said that the reason he used the word “recover” in the title of his talk was because we seem to have lost it. I think I lost it. And I wanted it back.
Dr. Schmitt made the case that “reason” de-personalizes the faith experience. It means that we don’t really know each other. It “de-populates” Scripture by making it less personal so that we make it more “sure.” When we make reason superior in encountering Scripture, we no longer hear the story.
“Scripture is the message of people who try to write what God has done.” It’s a “cloud of witnesses” whose lives God has touched. Those lives are opened up to us in Scripture. All sorts of cultures and people meet you in the Book. They bring you into God’s Kingdom and into His Story.
Story is recovered through relationship: the relationship we have with the saints in Scripture, and the relationship we have with the people of God in our lives today. What are the stories of how God is working in your life?
I couldn’t help but use that as I preached about Abraham’s call to sacrifice Isaac. I asked the people to think about Sarah’s thoughts as she watched Abraham and Isaac leave. What was she thinking and doing while they were gone? What must have it been like to scan the horizon and see Abraham’s familiar figure…then the servants…along with the animals…and finally Isaac. Isaac!
Everyone seemed to be integrated into the story. They were paying attention. There were looks of empathy on faces. They recognized their own thoughts and feelings of sacrifice…and relief; of sorrow…and joy.
It brought a sense of undeserved gift. Which is, of course, the Gospel.
How are you recovering the power of story?