Baggy Trousers

Lent 1b – Sunday 26th February 2012
Mark 1: 9-15

Oh what fun we had, but, did it really turn out bad?
All I learnt at school, was how to bend – not break – the rules
Oh what fun we had but at the time it seemed so bad,
Trying different ways to make a difference to the days.

They say that storytelling is an art. I say that storytelling is as natural as breathing air.

After a busy weekend, workmates gather around the water-cooler to recount how their trip to the football went. A daughter rings her mum to tell her all about her child’s first day at school. Neighbours meet in the street and talk about the delays and problems caused by the local roadworks. Friends tell of relationship problems involving pain and hurt. Holidays remembered. Concerts shared. Tears shed. Laughter at how foolish we can be.

Stories. Stories. Stories.

I remember being told as a child to stop telling stories – implying that I was lying or making something up. But most of our stories are true. Most of our stories are a reflection of our lives, of what has happened to us, of what we’ve achieved.

I tell stories every Sunday through my sermons, every tea-time I share what I’ve done with my day, to my son I recall what life was like back in the day.

In my ministry I hear stories about the dramatic impact God has on people’s lives.

Stories. Stories. Stories.

This last weekend I visited the Burnley Mechanics (the theatre venue not the car repair emporium) to see Suggs: My life story in words and music. Suggs is the lead singer with the iconic 1980’s pop group Madness, and taking time out from his radio, TV and band commitments he is touring the UK to tell his story. Wistfully, humorously, honestly, he tells his story, interspersed with some of the bands hits. It all began – he says – because he turned 50, his kids left home and the cat died!

Stories. Stories. Stories.

The gospel is full of stories. They are our primary interaction with the Word of God. They draw us in, they challenge us, they comfort us, they disturb us. And just like with his Son, God loves our story. We read in Mark 1:

And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

What is amazing is that we bring great joy to God as well. Lives lived faithful for God bring him great joy. Even more amazingly, such is his grace, lives lived unfaithfully for God bring him great joy too. God wants to touch our lives with his love. He goes out of his way to win our hearts – he goes via The Cross. His story is the most amazing, the most compelling, the most welcoming. It says,

“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

Tell God your story.

Happy days

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About Neil Chappell

Husband, father, Congregational Minister and football fan all rolled into one convenient package.
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