We’ve had a little taste of Spring around here, and Spring is notoriously the time to celebrate new birth, new growth and lots of other new things we’ve been waiting for all winter. Maybe you’re eager to try out your new bike, new stroller, new running shoes, or new fishing reel.
Trying new things isn’t always easy. I’ve written before about my long bout with Tryer’s Remorse when I’ve regretted trying new things. But I’m growing up and there’s something about turning 40 (something) that helps you get over yourself a bit.
So, I’ve tried a new kind of writing centered around Bible stories.
If you’ve been around Bible stories a long time, you know that sometimes the colorful images of the Sunday school flannel graph can fade over time. Instead of reading the Bible with wonder, we tend to gloss over the words, yawn, lick our finger, and flip the page.
What if we, as adults, could be fascinated once again with the familiar?
Several years ago I heard a sermon on the story of Peter’s great catch (Luke 5). I’d heard the story many times before, but this time, something hooked me. Problem was, I didn’t know exactly why.
So I sat down at the computer and retold that story to myself.
To my amazement, writing down the story and retelling it to myself, helped me rediscover the story.
I saw in Peter a person who tried hard. He wanted to show up, work hard, excel, produce, perform, and prove.
He’d spent a lifetime learning how to fish, and had a lifetime ahead of him to work at it.
Only, on this particular night he had fished all night and caught nothing. All that good work had left him tired, hungry, and probably a little ragged.
Until Jesus stepped into the boat with a radical demonstration of His grace in terms that got Peter’s attention. In a sinking boat loaded with fish, Jesus demonstrated that He would do for Peter what Peter could not do for himself.
In my over familiarity I had missed the story’s foreshadowing of the ultimate work Jesus came to do for Peter, and for us. What we remember on Good Friday and celebrate on Easter is the radical demonstration that Jesus has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
In an effort to rekindle my own fascination with the Easter story, I wanted to look closely and think carefully about a few of the people Jesus came in contact with during what we now call “Passion Week.”
So I tried something new.
I researched a few Bible commentaries, drew on my own imaginations, and tried to drape the framework of scripture with the fabric of fiction to retell the stories of some lesser known people described in Scripture.
I like how Phillip Yancey explains it, “…stories are easier to remember than concepts or outlines.… It is one thing to talk in abstract terms about the infinite boundless love of God. It is quite another to tell of a man who lays down his life for his friends….” (The Jesus I Never Knew).
At first glance their stories don’t seem so remarkable. They were people with worries, flaws, sin, and fear. Some of them we don’t even know by name, and all of them are described in just a few verses.
But if we take a close look and imagine a few of the details, we might learn something new from the old.
So next Monday through Good Friday, (and in future weeks) you can expect an additional, new kind of post.
As we look to celebrate new life in Christ this Easter, I hope you will enjoy taking a fresh look at the familiar.
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