Sacred Spaces 339 – Know the story
3 July 2012
Last night in church someone’s phone rang during the service. To be honest at first, I got annoyed and thought: “Could they not be wiser and have their phone off or on silent?”
But then I thought of the “story” from a different perspective. Maybe that person is a first timer in this place and hearing the message of grace for the first time. And if we jeered or sneered at them for that ringing phone, would we chase them away forever?
Or maybe the story goes like this: “they are on call, and it’s their job to make ends meet to survive as a family… And their phone needs to be on standby to get in many hours of work to provide for their family. And yet they have taken time to be in church to meet with God too” (We need to know the story before judge and accuse.)
I remember author, John Eldredge telling a story like this: A dad learns of his car being totalled (crashed) and when his daughter arrives home he shouts at her in disgust and anger.
And says something horrible like: “I should have never trusted you.”
BUT if he “knew the story” of how his daughter was obeying all the rules of the road and that a drunk man drove through the stop street and hit his daughter head on and thankfully she survived the accident… his response would then be “Thank God, my daughter is alive and safe.” (We need to know the story before we judge and accuse.)
I went to a Zulu wedding on Saturday. I was part of the groom’s party and had to “walk in with rhythm” But I am an “umlungu” (white guy) and I have no rhythm like my Zulu brothers and sisters. I felt really laughed at. It was quite embarrassing. Then yesterday (day after the wedding), I saw two guys who I play soccer with. They told me about their Zulu culture and said the Zulu people weren’t “laughing at me” they were laughing in appreciation of me joining in their cultural practices. (That version of the story makes me feel a lot better.) Although I still think they were laughing at me. Because we all know “white people can’t dance!” Haha! (Point is, we need to know the story.)
In John 9, the disciples also fall in the same “mistake” of not knowing the story:
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
The disciples saw only “one side” YET they were so wrong. Jesus saw another side. He knew the correct story!
It wasn’t about his sin; it was about God’s power being demonstrated. Seriously that is potent!
Something extra, but sort of related:
Benjamin West tells how he actually became a successful and important painter. When he was young, his mother went out and left him in charge of his sister Sally. In the meantime, little Benjamin discovered bottles of coloured ink and began to do Sally’s portrait. What a mess soon developed. Finally, when Ben’s mother came home and saw the tragic mess, she said nothing. She merely picked up the paper with the portrait and said, “Why it’s Sally!” and she kissed Ben. Ever since that day, West has said, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.” (Raymond T. Moreland)
(This quote reminds us that there are two sides to look at a story/situation.)
Whose story do you need to know now? Before you run away with your own prejudices and preconceived ideas…
Oh we’re just story tellers
Such tell tales.
We write people off
We act as if we have written the stories
Yet God you are
The great Author
Bigger than us
Let our chapters be aligned
In Your design