03 Jul Minister’s Update
Read any good books recently?
I know that many of you are avid readers. Judging by the books that are bought at church fairs or borrowed from church bookshelves I’d say that novels are much more popular than theological books; not a criticism just an observation, and given the choice I’m likely to pick up the novel too (don’t tell anyone I said that!). I’ve recently read two that I’d thoroughly recommend – “The strange pilgrimage of Harold Fry” the story of a man who goes out to post a letter and keeps on walking, and “Archbishop” the fictional account of the first woman chosen to be Archbishop of Canterbury. What drives the narrative in both is the unfolding of a life story. We are fascinated by people’s stories, whether fictional or real life.
This is a theme taken up by the Spring edition of “The Connexion” magazine, which you find copies of in church. The title reads “Sharing testimonies” and appears alongside a picture of a Street Angel talking to a homeless person in a doorway. The obvious assumption to make is that the Street Angel is sharing his testimony but I wonder whether it might be the other way around? The journal is full of testimonies from a diverse range of people, but what they all have in common is a story of what God has done and is continuing to do in their lives.
Sharing our faith with others can seem a daunting prospect, particularly if we expect to be bombarded with deep theological questions about the nature of the Trinity, or some such complex issue. If most people would pick a novel over a theological text doesn’t it follow that most people would rather hear a story – your story. We all have a story of why we come to church, of our relationship with God, the story of our lives with all its ups and downs. One article highlighted extracts of the testimonies of three people in their 80s. They were described as “three faithful Methodists who consider themselves ordinary, and were surprised to be asked to contribute to The Connexion”. All three were from Wimborne in our district and I realised I had met one of them recently. She was serving the teas at a meeting I attended there. I exchanged a few pleasantries with her but now, having read her testimony, I know I was talking to a person who trusts in a loving God despite, or perhaps because, of what has happened in her life – we all have a story to tell.
Alongside the Wimborne testimonies there is a question “There will be stories such as these to be told in your church too. What can you do to help them be heard?” Perhaps you might be moved to share your own story in “The Courier”? I might even ask a couple of people to share in services! Even if you’d rather not ‘go public’ perhaps share your story with a friend. We might think our own faith story is not worth telling, there’s nothing dramatic about it, but just hearing you speak about what God means for you might be a huge encouragement to someone else. That might give us confidence to share with others.
We all have a story to tell.