Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I Love to Tell the Story...

'twill be my theme in glory.
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and His love.

This evening, my husband and I had an opportunity to see a show called Once On This Island. It was a beautiful story that is similar in theme to The Little Mermaid.* But much deeper and more lasting that a cute Disney story. The show is told by a group of peasants as a fairy tale to a little girl, a story of how love is stronger than the earth, the water and even death. At the end of the story, the cast sings to the little girl about why they tell the story. She begins to sing the beginning of the story again as the cast sings this final song of the show, "Why We Tell the Story":

And this is why we tell the story:
If you listen very heard you hear her call us
To come share with her our laughter and our tears
And there's mysteries and miracles befall us through the years.

We tell the story, we tell the story!

Life is why we tell the story,
Pain is why we tell the story,
Love is why we tell the story,
Grief is why we tell the story,
Hope is why we tell the story,
Faith is why we tell the story,
You are why we tell the story,

So I hope that you will tell this tale tomorrow
It will help your heart remember and relive
It will help you feel the anger and the sorrow
And forgive

For all the ones we leave
And we believe
Our lives become the stories that we weave.

As I was sitting there in the theatre, completely enchanted by this beautiful story, that last line hit me like a ton of bricks! I've said it a million times, but this time I really understood it even more - our worship tells the story. We re-live the story together, the story of God's salvation history, and by telling the story, acting out the story, re-living the story, we become part of the story ourselves. Our lives become the stories that we weave.

Bob Webber talks about the story of God that we tell and live in our worship. He talks about it every chance he gets - almost as much as he talks about the narcissistic culture that frequently invades our worship.**

And I saw the Resurrection story written all over this delightful musical. Just like I see the Resurrection story written in many great stories, like Harry Potter for example. As Leigh McLeroy writes in a blog entry on Common Grounds Online***:
"I don’t know what J.K. Rowling believes, but here’s what I believe. Harry Potter is a tremendous character, Rowling is a master storyteller, and Harry’s story is as redemptive and rich as they come. And that redemptive richness – its tensions between darkness and light, good and evil, love and jealousy, and its honestly-constructed characters who never, ever hit a false note – resonate with the Great Story, the Gospel Story. Because all the best stories do, whether they mean to, or not."

So - As part of the Worship Planning Team training time, we're going to tell stories. One of the first homework items I'm going to give the class our first week is this: write THE STORY in your own words - be as creative as you want. Then, the next week, during our worship time, we will each share a portion of our stories, and then take the written stories and combine them in a kind of visual collage, that, all put together, tell THE STORY in a rich, tangible, visual way.

I'm going to be thinking and praying over the next few days of other ways we can tell the story. Or, perhaps one of the 'lecture' times will not be a lecture or discussion, but a story-telling-time. Do you have any great ideas for how to tell the story, how to teach a group of frozen-chosen-presbyterians how to tell a good story?

Don't be shy, tell me your story - I need your story too! We have to tell the story together, the old, old story of Jesus and His love!

*I have to admit that there was a time in my life where I had the entire movie memorized and would sing the whole thing for you at the drop of a hat

** For a good laugh at our Culture of I, check out It's All About Me: The Bob Webber Narcissistic Un-Worship Song written by one of the IWS students, Rob Still. Go here for the lyrics.

***Common Grounds Online is a great Christian blog, with many wonderful contributers. And, interestingly enough, the sub-heading for the blog is "Learning and Living the Christian Story."


Blogger Ph said...

I found your blog as I was looking for the lyrics for why we tell the story and started to read your post.

What I found the most interesting, and relevant (aside from the lyrics) was that we just kicked off our youth group this morning and our them is "Why We Tell The Story" and I just thought that your post was sorta why I was pushing for this theme...

I also like your idea for a story telling time, I might use it at a retreat for the kids.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Tylertopia said...

Hi Amy, I hopped over here from Lisa's blog. I really enjoyed reading this post. What a cool idea, to have your class write THE STORY. I'm interested in seeing what you all come up with. Will you post it here? :o) Thanks for sharing this great reminder of why we tell the story and why it is important to tell...

7:05 PM  

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