On their arrival, they gathered the church together and reported everything that God had accomplished through their activity, and how God had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. -Acts 14:27
I recently heard a couple of Gathering Churchers on the radio. Susie Bird and her daughter Bella (the star of the broadcast) gathered with Bella’s stepmom Jenny in a StoryCorps booth to tell their story. You need to listen for yourself, but the way they told their story, made me want to be more loving and forgiving and less predisposed to judging someone or making easy enemies in my own life (Bella’s quote at the end: “Never feel obligated to hate anyone”!!!!!!!). Despite the differences in my story and theirs, they really connected with me (and I’m sure it do with plenty of other listeners too).
This Sunday we’ll continue to track Paul and Barnabas as they trek around the Ancient Near East proclaiming the gospel story. One thing that stuck out, and perhaps it’s obvious to you, is how Paul and Barnabas tell that Story. They tell God’s Story in such a way that includes, brings people in who likely never pictured themselves as having the potential to be involved with God.
They tell the same Story, the Story of God reconciling the world, all creation, to himself in Christ in different ways depending on their hearers’ starting points. Check out Acts 14 to get a taste.
You see, people with Jewish backgrounds needed to hear the Story in a way that would make sense of their own stories and call them to recognize Jesus as the messiah they were waiting for and their king they so hoped for. As Paul & Barnabas talk to a pagan population, they find common ground and spin the Story in a way that makes sense for them as creatures related to a Creator that they probably did not even know or recognize.
How amazing that this “true story for all creation” is both so true and so vast to be able to make sense to everyone in one way or another! How exciting of a task it is to potentially be part of opening the “door of faith” for someone else! What a challenge!