One of the greatest privileges of being a pastor is the privilege of holding stories. From my various calls in ministry over the past decade, I have been humbled to be entrusted with incredible stories of many saints along their journey. Each story bears the image of God.
Layered upon these stories are the stories of our ancestors of the faith -- the stories we come together each week to hear, Sunday after Sunday, season after season, year after year. Our stories become intertwined with their stories, until we become part of God’s one sweeping arc of redemption.
For example, when we face an unknown future, we find strength in Mary’s trust in God. When we want to cut and run, we remember Joseph’s courage to stay by her side. When we tremble with fear like the shepherds, we hear their consolation from the angels: “fear not.”
Narrative theology holds that Christian theology should blossom from the stories of our faith and the great narrative arc of God’s redemption, rather than from a set of propositions or doctrines. Basically, narrative theology says, “look beyond the literal meaning of the text, down to the deeper meaning of the stories.” It emphasizes Biblical storytelling and the use of parables as the strongest tools for spiritual formation over reasoning and indoctrination.
This is one of the reasons I’ve been telling stories as sermons for the past three weeks. Through these stories, I have been amazed how you have easily been able to make connections with your life, your faith, and this strange world we are living in now with so more theological depth than I could ever do for each of you personally. And you will have an opportunity to do this again on Sunday, as we will hear the Christmas story again in a new way through our children in our first digital Christmas pageant.
Stories. Songs. Art. These are the angels getting many of our Spirits through a Covid Christmas.
And the days we are living in now will one day be stories told by generations to come. So let us make them good stories.
Rev. Anna Humble