My Granny grew up during the depression. One of eight. She had never had a bicycle all her own. Now married, she was washing dishes and could see Grandpa pull up after work. He happily hopped out of the car, then reached into the back and pulled out a new bicycle…
This week, deep asleep, I was again preparing for my Grandpa’s funeral. In reality his was the first funeral I officiated, but in the dream I was preparing with all the experience I have today. I sat at my desk to write the message, and pictured Grandpa’s smiling face. But everything behind him was blurry. I sat for what seemed like hours, wracking my brain, but I could not remember a single story about Grandpa. In a panic I awoke… and memories flooded back.
Grandpa’s cat would walk him to the bus stop each day. When he got home the cat was waiting on the porch. Popping up to meet him at the gate. When Grandpa joined the Navy, lying about his age, the cat was left behind. When his tour was over, no one knew when Grandpa would return (different times!). But one day the cat sat on the porch. When Grandpa arrived at the gate, the cat popped up to meet him.
Humans are built on stories. Families sit around telling a tale. Nations build a narrative. To forgot our stories is to forgot ourselves. To misunderstand the stories is to miss our purpose. This is true in the church. We may know all the ways to do church, to build a ministry. But if we have forgotten or confused our story, we are aimless.. then it is time to panic.
Granny used to call Grandpa “Grump-pa”. This was a joke over cards (he would get grumpy if she won!). His only other grumpiness was that he was quiet. So quiet that he did not notice when Granny tried to give him the silent treatment early in their marriage! But he was a servant. Grandpa wanted to go out on Friday evening. But Granny — a busy week wrangling four kids — told him we can’t go until the floor is mopped. So Grandpa mopped the floor and continued to mop the floor every week.
There is great importance in knowing the theology of God. But if you know only theological terms and definitions — maybe you think Greek terms: omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent… or maybe you think about justification and providence… or even the trinity — if you only think in these terms you have missed a great deal. For at the culmination of revelation, God did not hand down terms. Instead God became a part of history. A part of humanity’s story. So to know God – as to know my Grandpa – is to know the stories.
I hope you will continue to join us as we read through the New Testament this year (Resolve 2021). We are currently in Acts, today chapter 20.
Join us this Sunday for the conclusion to our Acts: Fuel for the Fire series. This week we look at Acts 17 and Pauls words to Athenians. Highlighting the purpose of our God (what part He play in our story). Hope you will join us at 10:30, in person with masks, or streaming on Facebook or Youtube.