The Greatest Story Ever ToldFr. Barnabas Powell
My grandfather was an amazing storyteller. He was always a larger than life figure in my eyes as a boy and still is even as a grown man. He had this ability to mesmerize us grandkids with his stories of being a police officer in Atlanta, and his stories of his adventures with his friends. To this day, I have no idea if any of these stories he told actually happened! He was that good.
But storytelling is such a powerful gift. Since before recorded history, cultures that excelled in telling stories preserved their culture from one generation to another. Aesop’s Fables, ancient Greek myths, Southern ghost stories, war stories, romances, all these communication styles bear more to a people than mere entertainment. Stories are important.
No wonder Jesus used parables to communicate with the crowds. By the way, He did this for several reasons. He wanted to relate to the people so He used events and everyday situations to communicate deep truths. But He also used His parables as a spiritual diagnostic tool to see who had “ears to hear.” The people who “got” the moral of the story, of the parable, were those who were ready to hear His message. Those who “missed the point” were obviously not prepared to grasp the truth of His message. There were times when even the disciples themselves were confused as to what their Master was saying.
But the Lord spoke in parables anyway, because He was interested in tapping on human hearts to help those around Him discover who they really were. After all, He already knew them better than they knew themselves. And that is still true today.
In today’s Gospel Lesson in Matthew 13:31-36, the Lord describes the “kingdom of heaven” in two parables: First, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Mustard Seed – it starts out small, but becomes a great Tree where the birds of the air come to nest. And second, the Kingdom of Heaven is like Leaven – it works its way through all the dough until it is completely leavened.
Today, the kingdom of heaven is still the same. This kingdom of the heart, where Christ rules as the Servant Master, may start out small, but His kingdom is meant for the whole universe. And so, it has grown from those early days in ancient Israel with just a few followers to be the One Story that has transfigured human history. The truth is His Story is our history.
So, today, is His kingdom working its way through every part of your life? Are you His ambassadors to your world to cooperate with the Spirit in extending His kingdom to everyone you meet? How has your story been transformed by His Story? By being attentive today to your purposeful spiritual journey, you can watch as the “Greatest Story Ever Told” makes you an eternal character in that very Story.
Today, be courageous enough to let His Story become your story.