Anita Dobson,Family Worker at Christ Church Downend, reflects on the 'story' of Easter...
As I was thinking about the Easter story, I was aware how uncomfortable that word sounds. Story, as in story books. As in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. As in made up; not true.
We often talk about the story of Christmas, the story of Easter. Dont we encourage people to conclude that once they are old enough to separate fact and fiction, then its time to put away the Christian faith as something sweet from childhood that they have now grown out of? In our family we very much enjoy the comedy programmes on Radio 4 but the constant sneer that no one with a brain can still believe in God can get a bit wearing.
His Story: Our story
What do you think? Do we need to stop using this word story in connection with the Gospels? I do know that Jesus himself told stories, and that the 'story' or account of Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection is the greatest story ever told. It could be read just as a series of events, but when we read the whole Gospels like a novel, the tension and characters come alive and Jesus himself becomes a captivating dynamic figure rather than a mouthpiece for wise sayings.
I also know that the whole of the Bible, and in fact the whole of human history, is His Story: the story of God's love for the world.
Our own stories meet God's story as we get to know him, and our personal stories entwine with his. Chick Yuill describes how we can share our faith with others by describing how our story has become connected with God's story, like intersecting circles on a Venn diagram.
This Easter why not read one Gospel from cover to cover, on your own or as a family; with your triplet, triad or home group. (You could read it aloud together but if this becomes a bit wearing, there are CDs or online spoken versions that you can download to listen to together.) You could even invite non Christian friends. Talk with each other about the story: which bits do you struggle to believe? Which bits really come to life? What do you notice about Jesus for the first time?
How does it connect with your own story of how you met Jesus? If you enjoy creative writing, you could write your account as if it was in the Gospel, describing it in the third person.
Easter is a story which has layers of meaning that we will keep on discovering until the day we die - and beyond. So perhaps story is a good word to use, but one that we will need to keep having conversations about.
An amazing true story. Read all about it.