Dear Members and Friends of Trinity Downtown:
An ancient saying attributed to the Jewish people asks “Why did God create humans? Because He likes a good story!” I don’t know if that saying is true, but I can certainly agree that enjoying a good story is an important part of being human. Just look at how much money Hollywood spends making movies, or how much time we spend watching fictional TV series. We all love a good story.
Psychologists and teachers tell us that we often absorb information much faster by hearing a story instead of trying to absorb a list of facts. Stories let us peek into the lives of someone who may be confronted with a situation or a problem which we are facing, invite us to ponder our situation more deeply, builds an emotional connection and provides examples that we can emulate.
One of the (many) reasons I believe the Bible is true is because it is full of embarrassing stories about people that, today, we might label as “saints.” Take James and John’s request as recorded by Mark in the text above. Not a very flattering way for future Apostles of the Messiah to behave!
So what lessons CAN we learn from the stories of the saints that have preceded us? Might they teach us what worked, and provide us important clues on pitfalls we should avoid?