25th January 2015
It’s nearly 30 years since I did this at seminary. It sounds good doesn’t it?
So that’s what we are going to do today – “narrative theology.” Jesus calls us to spread the gospel … but how? Easy: we are called to “live” the gospel. But what’s the Gospel about? Here are 4 stories to answer that question:
1)A boy aged 5, came home from Church and solemnly announced that he knew what they call men who love each other! Mum, not sure that granny really wanted to hear this, nervously asked. “What’s that darling?” “Christians,” he answered knowledgably.
2)Aristides, a non-Christian, defended the Christians before the Emperor Hadrian, in the second century with the following words. “Christians love one another. They never fail to help widows they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If a man has something, he gives freely to the man who has nothing. If they see a stranger, Christians take him home and are happy, treating him as if he were a real brother. They don’t consider themselves brothers in the usual sense, but brothers instead through the Spirit, in God. And if they hear that one of them is in gaol, or persecuted for professing the name of their redeemer, they all give him what he needs…This is really a new kind of person. There is something divine in them…
3)There is a true story of a young nun working in a leper colony in the tropical heat of West Africa. A journalist was visiting the colony and stood there amazed, as he watched the sister, gently washing the wounds of a leprosy victim. “I wouldn’t do that for £100,000,” said the journalist. “Neither would I,” said the nun, “but I’d do it for love!”
4)A woman was hiking in the mountains, when she found a precious stone in a stream. Later, she came across a beggar who was very hungry. The woman opened her bag to share her food. As she did so, she noticed the man’s face light up as he eyed the precious stone. She readily offered it to him, which he gladly accepted and ran off with joy in his heart. A few days later, he came back to return the stone to the woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I want to give it back to you, in the hope you give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you, that enabled you to so freely give me the stone in the first place!