Summary: Your past, your problem or perception should never hinder you from telling the story of God loves and Jesus’ saving power.
“You Tell the Story”
Mark 16:1-8 “…And they said nothing to anyone…”
I call the Markian version of the gospel the realist version. Mark appears to recognize the frailty of the human spirit. You may remember when we preached when you need a second touch from Mark 8; Jesus needed to touch the man a second time because the man had a weak response to God’s first touch. I don’t think the gospel loses any power because of the perspective that man is weak and that only through the power and the purpose of God is one able to accomplish anything of value. We are in an era where people think that they make it all by themselves, that they pull themselves up by there own bootstrap. I’m here to tell you that we all stand on borrowed blessings. God is blessing us right now because somebody prayed for you. Somebody had you on their mind and took the time to pray for you. I must admit that I’m so glad they prayed, I’m so glad they prayed I’m so glad they prayed for me. What about you?
I appreciated attending the 93rd anniversary of the founding of the NAACP, because as the various speakers spook they recounted the story of the historic importance of the NAACP and Union Baptist Church to the civil rights movement. For me the highlight, while there were many, was when Professor Larry Gibson recounted the activity of the branch during the first year of its existence. The list of accomplishments was outstanding. It amazes me how our fore parents did so much with seemingly so little.
I believe the one of the secrets to our early success was that we had to rely on the telling and retelling of the stories of life. Our historical tradition was embodied in our oral tradition. Story telling was our method of insuring that the record was not tampered by forces that would seek to destroy, deny or demean our quest for freedom.
I like to look to the Jewish tradition of telling their history and see their repetition of story telling as strength. Indeed it is.
The telling of the story of how God brought you though dangers seen and unseen reinforces that fact, that God is an every present help in the time of trouble. When a person is able to tell the story of how after meeting Jesus for themselves they were able to turn their life around, brings new meaning to “amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I’m found was blind but now I see.
The power of storytelling can be a liberating force in a person’s life. Real storytelling authenticates life journey. It adds strength to the statement, “if it had not been for the Lord on my side where would I be.” Storytelling is revealing. When we are weak, God is strong. Storytelling is redeeming. It illustrates that God will look beyond your faults and see you need. Storytelling is rewarding. It helps people to understand that even though storm clouds come, even though lighting flashes, even though the thunder may roar, be assured there is a bright side somewhere.
Friday after the services for Ms Kathyn Blackwell, I had to fly to Raleigh, N.C. to eulogize my Aunt. The plane was delayed leaving BWI because of a thunder storm in the North Carolina area. After a 30 minute delay the place took off. As we approached Southern Virginia, the thunder storm was still in the area. We hit turbulence and the plane began to shake and quiver. That is not a good feeling, to be in an airplane and it is shaking and quivering. After a few seconds of shaking the pilot announced that we should fasten our seatbelts. And that he was going to fly at a higher altitude. He took the plane above the storm. The reason why we find some many people overwhelmed, overtaken, overcomed by the storms in their lives is that no one has told them that they can live life at another altitude. People stay stuck in their situation and never realize that the answer to their problems may be in higher relationship with God. More bible study, more prayer, more worship, more praise, lifts one to a higher relationship with God.
Revelations 12:11 tells us that Satan was overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. If we have a weakness in our families, communities, and our churches is that we do not fully use the power of testimony. The telling of one’s journey with God. How will others know that God is a healer, unless you tell how God was your balm in Gilead? How will others know that God is a deliver, unless you tell them how God made a way out of no way for you? How will others know that God is a provider, unless you tell how when your cupboard was bare, when you were down to your last dime, how God intervened and didn’t change the circumstances, but changed your attitude in the circumstance.