“We will recount to generations to come the praiseworthy deeds and power of the Lord, and the wonderful works he has done.
He gave his decrees to Jacob and established a law for Israel, which he commanded them to teach their children.
That the generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn; that they in turn might tell it to their children;
So that they might put their trust in God, and not forget the deeds of God, but keep his commandments…”
I was reading a reflection on some of these verses yesterday in Forward Day by Day, written by The Rev. Robert Two Bulls, an Oglala Lakota and an Episcopal priest. He writes, “One of my teachers once talked about how television and Hollywood replaced the storytellers. No longer do we sit by the glow and warmth of the home hearth listening to our storytellers. Nowadays, we sit, staring at the cold glow of the television. The more I thought about this, the more I’m convinced that this is true. Where are our storytellers?” (Forward Day by Day, Tuesday, November 9)
I will admit that some wonderful stories can be passed on to us through movies and television. And… The Rev. Two Bulls gets my attention with his observation.
Our forefathers and foremothers in the faith, going at least as far back as our Jewish forefathers and foremothers, were directed by God to tell the story of God’s saving deeds, especially how God acted mightily to bring them out of slavery in Egypt, how he parted the Red Sea for them, how the Torah was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, how he provided for them - water from the rock and manna and quails from the sky - during their sojourn in the wilderness, and how God led them into the Promised Land - a land flowing with milk and honey.
We - you, I, all of us - have a story of how God has shown up and accomplished “praiseworthy deeds and… wonderful works” in our own lives - deeds of power, healing, guidance, salvation, and blessing.
We know a God who created all that is and who keeps on renewing the creation.
We know a God who created all the amazing systems in our body - the circulatory system, the nervous system, the immune system, and all the rest of it! Pause and reflect for a bit on your body’s ability to heal itself after you have been cut or injured. Pause and think for a bit about how your heart keeps pumping blood, second by second, hour by hour, year by year, from the time you are born until the time that you die! Pause and meditate for a few minutes on all the people… all of the family and friends and all of the teachers and mentors that God has brought into your life. Pause and give thanks for all the stories you have learned about Jesus over the years - what he taught and what he did. Pause and give thanks for all the times that you heard - somehow, some way - God guiding you this way and not that way, and give thanks for what you have learned of God, because God has chosen to be a God who is self-revealing. We know a God who raised Jesus from the dead on the third day, and who promises to raise us, too!
Pause for a moment and give thanks for all of the times that you felt God’s love for you. Give thanks for how that love has sustained you. Yes, there are billions of people in the world, and yet, you still felt God’s love… for YOU!
It is very important that we pass on to the the next generations our experiences of God’s praiseworthy, powerful, and life-changing deeds. A TV show or a movie may inspire us in the short run and bring us enjoyment, but it cannot be present with us and love us through all the days of our life, or bring us new life after we die!
What about it? Will you join me in making a commitment to being a storyteller - one who tells the next generations about the amazing deeds of God?
When might be your next opportunity to share with others about your own experience of God’s mighty and life-transforming deeds?
I, for one, would love to hear you tell that story!