1 Corinthians 1:18-25,
Life without stories is a tree without leaves.
Imagination clothes bare bones.
Myths, legends, stories and folktales
are life-signals in any community –
think of family, school, team or nation.
God comes to us in the context of story, but what sort of a story is it? For some it’s a mystery, a great insoluble mystery story only to be solved by superior wisdom and intellect. That was the way of the ancient Greeks. For others, it is a spectacular story of wonder and power to be seen in miracles that defy the laws of nature. That’s the kind of story for many in ancient Israel.
But, Paul, in 1 Corinthians, insists that it is through a great love story that it is to be told, a love-story of sacrifice and self-giving reaching its climax in the crucifixion of the Christ.
How are we to present God’s story today? Not as the solution to an intellectual conundrum, a puzzle to be solved; not as the performer who does incredible tricks that astound and surprise; and not as the Great Avenger out to destroy and to punish. If true to the Gospel, it is a story of humble self-giving, crucified love.
A story like that cannot just be told; it has to be dramatized. The story-teller has to act it out. And it cannot be told from a position of superiority or arrogance. Nor can it be told out of rivalry in a competitive approach with others as Paul told the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:10-17). After all, we are not just tellers of the story, we become the story for others around us.
- How was God first presented to you, or, in other words, what was the part that God played in the stories told to you as a child?
- How do we turn God into a puzzle to be solved or a miracle to amaze us?
- Why, according to 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, did Paul centre his message on Christ crucified?
- If the message of Christ crucified lies at the centre of the Gospel, what then follows for us in our living of the Christian life and in telling others about it?