As far back as I can remember, I have always loved a good story. Whether it was read or told by heart, I was all ears. All imagination. All interest. Open heart drinking it all in, eating it all up. Still digesting.
Perhaps it is my being Northern Irish that has to do with this love for a good story. I would not be surprised if one of my first sentences as a child was - "Tell me a story!" And tell me stories they did. Parents. Grand parents (whose sleeves were the fullest). Guests visiting our home. Missionaries coming through our home. Strangers stopping by. Anybody and everybody - "Tell me a story!!!" I would sit, captivated by the tales they had to tell. All different kind of tales - from the funny to the fascinating, from the scary to the sad. Words woven, relations relating past realities that would inspire, make me want to inquire. Narratives of courage and care, that would dare me to be someone, to do something, just like they had been someone, done something. Memories of life and love that would compel me, propel me to live and love. After all, don't those two things go hand in hand? Life, holding, helping hands in love.
So, there I sat. Wee British girl, enthralled, at the feet of whoever was willing to share. Growing up collecting people's stories. Growing up because of other people's stories. Many of my own memories, remembering their memories.
Stories. Words about life, words of life, living legacies.
But, it's definitely more than my being Northern Irish; it is my being a child of God that makes me appreciate good stories still now. All thanks to the grace of Jesus Christ, I am a child of God. And as His child, I have loved His story. He has told it to me over and over again from His Word, and I never tire of it, always desire more of it. Like the New Testament letter says, "Crave the pure, spiritual milk of God's Word, that by it you may grow - if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good." Oh, I have tasted and seen that He is good. So good. Too good. And I want more of His Words, for they tell me about Him, "the Word from the beginning, who became flesh, who made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth".
And the reality of His incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and glorification is the best story of all. And how glad I am that this story is fact, not fiction - that we, sinful-selfish-souls, can be forgiven and reconciled, and invited into His glory story.
Our filthy rags for Christ's robe of righteousness is the first great exchange. The second - our futile, boring mini-dramas that are passing away for God's glory story that is from everlasting to everlasting. He made the stars; He is the Star. And we are part of the cast; we are the choir in the soundtrack of this spanning, stretching story. Though seemingly small, we must remember that we are not, because His hands are infinitely big and busy weaving together a marvelous story of redemption. We only get to "see in part" on earth, and these parts may seem minute and mysterious at times. But of this we can be sure - how the story culminates. People from all around the world uniting with the angels above, crying out - “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Until that day, that glorious forever-day, we have the riveting role of being His servants on earth. Act one, two and three, etc. - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our script - the Good News of so great a salvation to all people.
Oh, let us listen to stories. Oh, let us be good Story-tellers.