I've been preparing some Biblical Storytelling workshops, and some of the thinking I've been doing has distilled into this reflection.
This – the Bible – is the story of God’s earliest relationship with creation, with humanity.
This is the foundation for our tradition, our faith.
It was recorded at different points in the history of different communities, when the Israelites, when the followers of Christ needed to define who they were, what they believed, how they wanted to be the people of God in the world.
Just as the story of creation has kept unfolding through time in creation and in the lives of human beings, so the story of God’s relationship with God’s people continues after the last Amen in the Book of Revelation.
The Sacred Story of the Bible is the foundation for the Sacred Story that continues to unfold in our lives and communities of faith. These foundational stories are the ones we return to; though we return to them less for literal directions for life than for the truths that inform our being.
These truths are discovered, interpreted and applied – and rediscovered, reinterpreted and reapplied – generation after generation, in times and places vastly removed from each other and from the ancient world of the Bible.
We do this because as time unravels and our stories unfold we deepen and broaden our understanding of ourselves as humans and of the Divine, and our relationship with God. As that understanding unfolds, the strong foundation of Sacred Narrative, tradition and community inform our renewed understandings. Our renewed understandings demand new interpretation of our foundational story. That we understand truth in new ways does not negate that truth. Though we no longer attribute all sickness to God as punishment, having a greater understanding of medicine and science, we still find healing in God. The healing we find is not always a cure for illness, but it is the (re)discovery of wholeness as we draw close to God.
As I contemplate the importance of the Bible / Scripture / Sacred Narrative, the importance of the way we tell this story also becomes apparent.
How we tell it, how we interpret it, how we apply it is vital if it is to continue to transform lives, lead people to God, and guide them to wholeness of life. When we forget this power of the story, when we forget its place as the foundation of an ongoing story of our relationship with God, we put a barrier in the way of the opportunity for Holy revelation, discovery, experience. And so we learn, continue to learn new ways, better ways to communicate the Sacred Story of God’s grace, love and hope for creation – from Scripture through the ages to our own story. Keeping the story alive, renewing our understanding of its truths for our lives today, connects our own story of relationship with God to the ongoing relationship of God with creation through all time.