Monday, 6 September 2010


My wife Sarah is in excruciating pain with something called SPD which some woman suffer from when pregnant. It causes pain in the pelvis and pubis, but Sarah also is having pain in her hips and back. She has had it for a number of weeks now but today she can barely walk. The pain is all day every day with no real let up. Spoken with the Doctor but there is very little they can do to help.
We have prayed together and now ask anyone and everyone to pray for Sarah that the pain would be taken away. We would value your prayers. The other complication is that she cannot open her legs hardly at all which makes giving birth complicated. Sarah wants to give birth naturally but is obviously concerned about the complications that SPD adds to labour. So please pray for her. Thank you. *

I was in a coffee shop in town talking with the staff who work there. They were 3 of them, all about 18 years old. I was chatting to them asking about the area, places to go and what they thought of Newton Abbot. I told them that because we had just moved here we didn't really know anyone and asked where they go to meet people. The very first answer that came out of their mouths was...

Now this does not surprise me in any way. Facebook is an example of what is happening in a certain part of our society with a particular culture emerging as a result. Tweeting, blogging and other forums also fit into this cultural phenomenon and I think it is a real opportunity for the church in the West to grab onto.

People have become storytellers.

When I go onto Facebook the first thing I tend to do is scroll down the News Wall and read everyone's status. There is always an eclectic mix of stories with people sharing how they are feeling, what they are doing and where they are going. The birth of a child, the break up of a relationship, the anger of betrayal, the events of a night out, what your having for dinner, what you brought at the shop, all get shared by people on Facebook, Twitter and blogging.

People have become storytellers of their lives.

Views on faith and religion, politics and society, morality and ethics, all get shared in one way or another through these different mediums with people voicing their views and personal reflections.

People have become storytellers of their lives and ethics.

There is also an issue about how people relate to each other. Going back to my 3 friends in the coffee shop. If Facebook is one of the primary ways people are connecting with each other then there is a danger that the joy of humanity relating to each other face to face is getting lost somehow. We were created to be in relationship with each other, sharing our lives together in much deeper way than technology will allow us. Technology can only take us so far, we have to walk the rest of the way, together.

In John's Gospel we read of how the Word became flesh and lived among us. In other words, the Son of God (also known as the Word of God) became a human being and physically lived on earth, loving and living with others. This is Jesus.

In verse 18 of John 1 it says that no-one has ever seen God, but Jesus (the Word or Son of God) has made God known. Now in the original Greek of the New Testament this phrase 'has made him known' can also be translated as 'declared' or 'narrated' or 'told'; it literally means 'to lead out'. The Greek word is where we get the English word exegesis which means to interpret or draw out a meaning from a portion of text.

So God has 'declared' or 'narrated' Himself to us through Jesus. See the play on words as the Word is made flesh and narrates Himself to us.

God is a storyteller of Himself.

God tells us about Himself physically through the Person of Jesus. And through Jesus He leads us out of the wilderness of sin and death into the life and beauty of the Promised Land which is His Kingdom when Heaven and Earth will meet and God will bring His peace and justice to reign once and for all. Every tear will be wiped away and all pain will cease when Jesus returns, the Prince of Peace.

So God has a story to tell through his Son Jesus and then calls us to continue telling this story of Jesus through our lives and actions, our words and our prayers.

The Church are called to be storytellers.

But this is not a story in the sense of fantasy and fiction. We are not called to be storytellers that make things up. We are called to tell a story of reality.

Back to Facebook.

If then we are living in a society of storytellers then followers of Jesus are called to share their story to a people who love hearing other peoples stories. This is why it is vital that followers of Jesus live lives of integrity, reality and honesty that as far as possible reflect who God is. This is why followers of Jesus are called to be a part of other peoples stories, living and loving among their communities just as Jesus did, not locking themselves away in their buildings, but living authentic, grace filled lives.

Our stories are not meant to be told in isolation but as a part of being in community with others. God tells us His story into the world in which we live and followers of Jesus are then called to share this story with the people that we live among. Facebook can make us into lone islands if we are not careful, but if used well it can be a means through which we can begin to connect with others and begin to share our stories together. But the rest of the story must be told face to face as a community physically meets together.

We are all storytellers, sharing our lives with one another.

God is the ultimate storyteller, who, in Jesus, shared His story with us and then gave us His life on the Cross in order that he might 'lead us out' into the Promised Land. Do you want to be a part of that story?


Tony Mayes said...

Love this Joe - The Church has an amazing story to tell if it would only focus on it and not get tangled in the pointless fights and arguments of the secular world.

The story of Christ lived out in the lives of his own people is more exciting, more challenging, more exhilarating, more difficult and yet so incredible.

We each live the story, tell the story and pass on the story as we show Christ through changed lives.

Joe Haward said...

Cheers Tony.