Why do we tell stories?
Not we as in Clear Creek Community Church, but we as in all of us.
What is it about books, TV shows, movies, and even the short glimpses into other people’s lives on social media that make them so pervasive in our culture?
Is it purely entertainment? Are we so fascinated that we simply cannot look away? Or is there something more?
Whether it’s an action movie, a romance novel, or a car commercial, there’s always something bigger going on than a gunfight, a kiss, or a sleek SUV driving down a scenic road. Maybe it’s a reminder that the good guys ultimately win, or that love always prevails, or maybe it’s that this particular car will help you live the life you’ve always wanted (whether or not that’s true).
Stories communicate information in a way that’s meaningful and memorable.
Stepping into another world through a book or movie or commercial allows us to learn something new like the grit of the human spirit, or learn to appreciate something more deeply like the beauty of falling in love, all while being emotionally invested in the characters involved, and leaning in to see what happens next.
That’s why stories are powerful.
They’re how we express complicated ideas and fit the pieces together.
Because deep down, we all want to more fully understand… everything.
The opposite sex.
Jesus Christ knew the power of story better than maybe anyone else in history.
He had this stunning skill of harnessing stories (called parables in the Bible) to teach the ways of God. Through stories like the Prodigal Son, the Four Soils, and the Good Samaritan, Jesus was able to communicate truth about who God is and how he relates to his people in a meaningful and memorable way.
But it wasn’t just his teaching style that employed story. God through the person of Jesus Christ, created the greatest plot twist of all time when he, the author himself, descended into the pages of his narrative.
He introduced himself and revealed who he is and what he’s about in the grand story we call the Bible. And he’s placed us as characters — each of us with our own arc and journey — into this epic work.
Let me just say, JK Rowling, Stephen King, and even William Shakespeare, can’t hold a candle to the storytelling genius of God.
His power and creativity know no bounds.
He is the Great Author.
And he has written the story of the world — its creation, fall, redemption, and restoration (yes, he already wrote the ending).
So, if stories communicate information, what is God communicating?
If there’s one overarching message to his story it’s this: he loves you.
He loves you so much that he would woo you with the entire story of everything we know centering around a grand gesture of sacrifice and grace on your behalf.
So, we come to church and we learn more about the story and its author. We sing songs about the story. We read about the story and we meditate on its implications.
We call all of that worship.
When we talk about the things he’s done, the ways he’s saved people, changed people, healed people, and loved people, we are singing his praise.
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. — Psalm 145:4-6