What’s Your Story?
A few weeks ago, I heard a preacher say that our small stories make things accessible, while our big stories let us know what’s available. He told two stories to make his point. In the first one, a couple gave him £25, 000 for his church, and then came back the next week to give him another £25, 000 because their business had been so successful. In the second one, a young refugee boy wanted to express his gratitude, so he gave the preacher all his pocket money, which turned out to be 69p in small change. All our stories are powerful. They are important and necessary, whatever their size.
We need our small stories. We need those moments of grace that are mediated to us through the familiar, every day fabric of our lives. They are our ‘Anne of Green Gables’ or ‘Little Women’ stories; tales where we discover that people just like us find out that love and kindness and faithfulness can transform the ordinary into the beautiful. We hear these stories and remember that we’re not alone and the small, seemingly insignificant details of our lives can have meaning and purpose, too. They tell us the truth about who we are and help us to see that even tiny gifts can demonstrate the huge generosity of God.
We also need our big stories. We need epic tales of adventure to inspire us and give us hope that this is not all there is. They help us to dream big and imagine the possibilities that open up change for the whole world. Our big stories let us know that God’s kingdom is still coming and that he can intervene at any moment. They are ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Harry Potter’ territory; stories that help us understand that we are part of a bigger picture, that we have a vital role to play in the struggle between good and evil.
As the church, we retell our stories over and over again. Every Christmas we recall the small story of a baby being born, wrapped up inside the big story of God himself invading the space-time continuum. Every time we take communion, we’re remembering the seemingly inconsequential meal of bread and wine that invites us into the big story of redemption.
As part of the church, let’s keep listening to each other’s stories, too: the ones where we’ve met God in the every day and the spectacular; the ones where our small victories reveal something of God’s glory; the ones where we’re still hurting and didn’t get our happy ending yet. All of them, intricately interwoven together, shape us and change us and help us to hold on for the ending of the big story, when everything that is broken will be made whole and everything that is wrong will finally be made right.
Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash