Good stories matter.
They can tell us truths that drill themselves deep into our core.
As Easter approaches, many pastors will be tempted to tell a feel-good story of spiritual renewal, personal growth and universal hope to our larger-than-usual congregations.
That's a good story.
But I want to encourage you to tell a better story.
Tell the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Not as a metaphor for change and hope. As a real-life narrative.
Get Wrecked by the Cross Again
In our church’s discipleship group, we've been reading the Gospel of John together. After reading John's account of the last supper, crucifixion and resurrection, I asked one the group members how it went for him.
"It wrecked me – again", he said. “I was spellbound. Everything else faded into black as that story came to life for me.”
That's it, I thought. We need to let our lives be wrecked by the cross. Again.
As pastors, we need to resist the temptation to trade down for good, but lesser stories.
Even if I didn't believe it to be literally true, I'd let Jesus' story stand on its own, simply because it's so much better than any other story – or any other version of his story – that I can create.
Thankfully, it also has the added bonus of being literally true, which makes the greatest story of all even better.
The Resurrection Is a Better Story
Metaphor is powerful. Myth is deep and penetrating.
But reality is more powerful, deep and penetrating.
How much Jesus loves me is a better story than how much I'm trying to love myself.
The greatness of the creator is a better story than the reflected greatness of the creation.
Grace is a better story than success.
The cross is a better story than recovery.
The resurrection is a better story than anything.
And – one more thing – it's true.
This Good Friday and Easter, let’s get out of the way and let the best story of all stand on its own.