The Greatest Story
February 20, 2020
Someone told me yesterday that I’m a good storyteller. Ha! Have you ever met my dad? He’s the guy who always has just the right story for any occasion, usually in joke form, and you know it’s a joke because as he’s telling it he’ll pause to say “true story.” LOL. This cracks my kids up.
I do have a love of language and words and the effect of using words to share stories. Maybe it was being an exchange student to Mexico in high school where I learned another language at a deeper level. Or maybe being a Rhetoric and Comunication major in college (after dropping Biology) – I loved studying famous speeches and orators, and the social science side of how people interact and communicate. Maybe it was all the Latin I studied in law school – hours and hours with the Black’s law dictionary trying to understand the legal stories.
Wherever my love of story-telling came from, this week I read an excerpt in a book about how important it is to curate the stories we allow into our lives. Much like a museum curator who only has a certain amount of space and must choose displays wisely, so too must we choose the stories we decide to take in wisely because we only have so much time AND because “we become the stories we consume.”
According to Justin Whitmel Earley in the book The Common Rule, “stories make up our lives the way they [make] up the walls of [a] bookstore. This is not true by happenstance; it’s true because we were made to live in a story.”
And then he wrote this, that touched my heart deeply:
“Our story begins with the creation of the world. Eden is the opening scene of a movie in which everything is the way it’s supposed to be. And then we’re hooked by tragedy: the fall of man and the separation of humans from God. Then there’s the chase, the conflict. How will God rescue his people? He shows his love for them in the Old Testament’s dramatic scenes of romance, in tracking them down through deserts, and in saving them from war.
And then the plot thickens. Just when things couldn’t get worse, we find out that God will not just come for his people; he will become his people. Jesus is the archetypal hero who comes in to save the world. But he won’t save the world by fighting; he will save it by dying. The gospel is tragedy: Humanity will be saved, but God has to die.
But there is a twist. The resurrection defies all expectations. Evil is defeated and good will reign. God will win after all, and love will prevail. There is a new time coming, and the kingdom will have no end. The gospel moves – in the words of Frederick Buechner – from tragedy, to comedy, to fairy tale.
The point is this: We don’t just watch stories, we live in one.
We are characters in the most epic narrative of all time, and it is real. It is a story unfolding in actual time, and the stories we watch are all trying to explain to us what this real story is about. They help us figure out how to live in our story.”
-Justin Whitmel Earley, The Common Rule
Several years ago while out on a run I sensed God calling me to live my life boldly. To live it out loud. To obey him as he directed my steps. To lean in and trust him. He reminded me that he knew the the next chapter of my life. He reminded me that he was the author of my story.
My friends, live your life boldly. Your life matters. Your story matters.