My grandson and I went to the movies yesterday. It was a good movie. For us that means it was sci-fi with action, special effects and a good story. A good story is a powerful thing. It involves a situation gone wrong, an agent of change and situation corrected. In the movie, a change in one character changed the course of history. It was a powerful story enlivened with action and special effects. We left the theatre believing that a change in one person can change everything. As Christians, it’s a truth we should know, but of which we sometimes need a reminder.
Jesus was a big believer in the power of stories. A good speaker knows that his audience will likely forget the details of theory or theology he is trying to convey, but they will remember a good story and its point. We all have a story and, for those of us who are Christians, we have a Jesus story. A Jesus story relates a life gone wrong, Jesus and a change of direction. Jesus stories are stories of grace, grace as forgiveness and an agent of change. For there to be a real change of direction there needs to be a disconnect or forgiveness of the past, and a hopeful possibility in the future.
Our part in a Jesus story is small but significant. We do the turning. At church it’s called repentance. It’s a change of direction. It’s made possible by the forgiveness part of grace and by the empowering part of grace.
The world and most of the folks we know in it are living out a story. It’s a story of a situation gone wrong. What is needed is an agent of change, something to bring disconnection with the past, hope and power: forgiveness for what’s done, hope that the situation can change and the power to change it. We are commissioned as agents of change. Our weapons are not intellectual. We don’t have the power to convince or to change minds. What we have is a story.
We need faith in Story Power. We need to stop wringing our hands over the situations we see. We need to stop shaking our heads over the wrong-headed thinking we meet. We need to tell our stories and watch what happens.