Living His Story Ch. 3
Jesus was in the transformation business
Welcome to my reflection of Chapter 3 of “Living His Story’- Jesus was in the Transformation Business. I hope you are enjoying this lenten journey as much as I am, and if you can make it at 1pm on zoom today or any other Thursday in Lent, for a further discussion, I would love to see you.
One Monday afternoon early on in my theological training, the lecturer caught us all unprepared when he asked us to get into pairs and film each other for one minute as we explained the difference Jesus had made in our lives. This was not what my friends and I had in mind at all for a post lunch lecture, we hadn’t known each other for long and it was awkward to think that as future vicars we might do a bad job of this in front of each other!!!! Luckily there was no playback required and we were all just left with the recordings on our phones. I confess to have only just played it back this week, of course I should have played it back much sooner, as its purpose was simply to help me grow in confidence and, as the apostle Peter puts it, to always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asked me the reason for the hope that I have.
So why does the thought of speaking of Jesus make us so uncomfortable? I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a restaurant, film or book that had ‘changed my life’ to anyone, whether they asked or not, but when it comes to Jesus we can feel awkward because people in our post christian culture might think what we have to say is odd or deluded and what if we don’t do a good job of it, and sell Jesus short.
I think there are forces at work in the world that delight when we struggle to speak of Him, and this makes me all the more determined to overcome my fears and to speak of the immeasurable difference Jesus has made in my life. Cue my second confession, sometimes though, in my enthusiasm, I can be a bit one sided and speak for too long, I need to remember to invite the other person to ask questions, to make it a conversation and not just a one way story.
The challenge as we practice telling our stories and speaking of Jesus, is to be alert to where we can improve, rather than put off by where we think we may have failed.
I don’t believe we need to worry about selling Jesus short though, if our intentions are good, then our efforts will be honoured, and seeds will be sown, whether they take root or not, is no business of ours, the transformation bit is God’s department.
The apostle Peter, and Hannah in this chapter, strongly suggest though that our efforts would be improved if we were properly prepared. Transformation is big business in our culture. When something in our lives is transformed, particularly from the outside, we talk about it, a lot, we photograph it, a lot, we publicise it, a lot. It could be weight loss, a reversal of a diagnosis, a new look or hairstyle. Our culture loves transformation. It would only seem sensible then to be prepared to talk of the only transformation we will ever experience in our lives that heals us thoroughly inside and out.
When I need to prepare for something, it’s not the story of a lecturer or a Christian sage that comes to mind, but one of Adele’s. As a family we were lucky enough to get tickets to one of her concerts in 2016, where in-between the singing, swearing and banter she relayed a short story about the importance of being prepared, she has permanently left me with the 4 P’s - Poor Preparation leads to Poor Performance, her story is now my story. Stories stay with us.
So then, what kind of job did I do of my 1 minute video without preparation. Well although it felt awkward and I looked a little uncomfortable to begin with, I did get the message across, well I convinced myself at least!
And this will be the story for most of us most of the time, if we step out confident in our experiences of Jesus, then we will be able to speak of them in a way that engages, because God is Gracious. Our stories can and will become part of other peoples stories, all we have to do is be prepared to tell them.
to join Sarah on Zoom at 1pm today for discussion and reflection
Questions for Zoom
Think of a story of encountering God that you have shared with others or others have shared with you. What did you learn from the experience?
In what practical ways might you express God’s love to a neighbour this week?