Living our story

April 5, 2020 by Rev. Jacques Nel

Now in the church the talk is revitalization. By that we mean growth both in numbers and in our own spiritual depth.

What is the recipe for revitalization? I am of the opinion that the kind of revitalization that we now need will not come from designing a better business strategy, neither will it arise from some clever sociological insight into the inner workings of people gathered into groups. We have been down that road. Needed now is a fresh perspective on what is in essence the story of God's people through the centuries. And I can think of no better place to begin than the stories of Abraham and the Exodus or Jesus and his disciples on the Sea of Galilee. I don't take these accounts serious simply because they are recorded in Scripture.

Revitalization flows from encountering the Infinite

I will never encourage anyone towards an unsophisticated reading of these ancient stories. Come with all your critical faculties on full alert, but come you must. Rekindle that passion in yourself to discover the incredible richness of the Bible stories, within the context where they originated. That context, you will soon discover it was a real world of real people, encountering the living God, in a very real and concrete way. That is revitalization!

There is a connection between the story and the working of God's Spirit. The moment we immerse ourselves in the story, the Holy Spirit whispers in our ear. All of a sudden we notice contours in the story that we never saw before. The longer we read, we listen, we immerse ourselves, the more we've become aware of a connectedness between these ancient stories and our own lives. Abraham, David and Peter are no longer strangers, who walked with God so long ago. I am now Abraham, David, and Peter. They are only the prototypes of what any person will be like in a relationship with God.

Become the story

It is all about connecting with God; is it not? This happens when we hear the story, and then we become the story ourselves. Faith comes from hearing the Word. This is not something of our own making. It is not something we can imagine. Who could ever imagine the richness and variety of the Bible stories? The answer is no one. These events actually happened, and now it is happening to us. We are in touch with the divine mystery. That is the long sought-after revitalization. Revitalization is when you and I begin to live the story of God's people. What happened long ago must happen again. Be attentive, and listen carefully, then it will happen to you!

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