Monday, June 20, 2011

More than Just A Story

It's easy to skim over any given Bible story and say you know it.  Noah's Ark, Jonah and the Whale, David and Goliath.  Then there's the Christmas story, and the Easter story...  Maybe you grew up hearing short and sweet versions of them in Sunday School.  You know what they're about, the general theme.  That's fine, there's nothing wrong with the condensed versions... but have you moved past Sunday School? 

The truth is, those stories are about real people.  They lived in a different time, spoke in a different language, lived in a different part of the world, but in many ways they were the same as you and me.  They worked hard to provide for themselves and their family.  They had friendships.  They were husbands and wives; fathers and mothers...

Take the "Easter story" of Jesus dying on the cross.  Of course, this one is condensed quite a bit for young eyes and ears.  Even the title is condensed... we don't say: the "Easter story" of Jesus who was tortured to the point of near-death, then nailed to hang on the cross, where he then died...  It's important children know Jesus chose to die on the cross for us and our sins, but without all the graphic, and honestly... gory detail of what he experienced.

Watching Passion of the Christ  last night, I realized that for many years, my thinking was stuck back in time, on the Sunday School version of Jesus' crucifixion.  I never challenged myself to move past the condensed version.  I never really "put myself in his place"... or his mother's place, or the man who helped carry the cross' place... because when you do that, the "Easter story" becomes more than just a story.  It becomes a very real, powerful, life-changing event...

So, whether you're listening to a sermon, reading your Bible, or snuggled up reading a bedtime book of Sunday School-version Bible stories with your kids... remember those words are about real people.  Try to 'put yourself in their place'.  You'll find a new appreciation and understanding of those Sunday School stories.  Because, they're pretty amazing... when you really think about it.

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“Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless.”

~ Mother Teresa