Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wednesday with Words: Worship and Story

I know many adults who have been moved by The Jesus Storybook Bible because it helped them understand the whole story of Scripture - every story whispers His name. I think this is part of what James K.A. Smith is hoping we will understand about worship in You Are What you Love.  One of his main points is that the form of our worship should be telling the story of the Gospel every week and inviting us into longing for the kingdom - here and in the future. He puts it this way:

He explains that worship should lead us through the "narrative arc that rehearses the story of redemption in the very form of worship".   Every week there is the call to worship (God invites us), repentance and forgiveness, hearing the word, tasting and seeing how good is the Lord and then being sent out "restor(i)ed".   Obviously, many services don't include all of these parts and may not reflect THE story- creation, incarnation, recreation (the pre-renaissance version of the Gospel) - in its form. What does the form of your worship tell you about you and God? Does your worship have the potential to "re-story" your life?  Do you allow it to "re-story" you?  Smith has lots of insights into the role of form (how we do things) in forming us as a people.

As I was reading Smith's conversation about "restory-ing" it made me think of one of my favorite lines from Norms and Nobility.
Hicks definition of mythos is not about true or false - it is a "man's imaginative and, ultimately, spiritual effort to make the world intelligible; the logos sets forth his rational attempt to do the same." Although I like the rational and ordered, I am realizing story and imagination sustain us.  I think this is one reason Charlotte Mason was such an advocate of memorizing the parables - these stories speak to us again and again in different ways as we grow.  Past generations knew the Psalms so well for similar reasons - they speak hope into difficult circumstances again and again. Do the stories my children know provide maps when they are lost?  Are they able to sustain him?

This past week I taught Daniel chapter 1 to the first graders at church.  Daniel was steeped in the stories of the Babylonians but held fast to the one true God.  They even tried to rename him - but it didn't stick - God was his judge.  In the end, this is what I want for my children.  I want them to be innocent of evil, not naive.  I want God's story of redemption and grace to be such a part of who they are that all other stories are colored by this one true story.  I desire that they recognize the hunger that cultural stories reveal and speak God's life and truth into deep pain and deep needs. An apologetics or worldview class as a teenager (the logos and analytical approach) can equip you with an argument. Are we are missing the boat though? It seems that more often we need to be armed with a loving story of truth. I think this is why many moms cry while reading The Jesus Storybook - it is restorying them and revealing who He truly is.

Want to know about re-storying a people group?  Take a listen to this older podcast by Angelina Stanford.  What she shares is incredible and the end literally sent chills up my spine.

See what other stories people are learning from at Ladydusk.


  1. This is a wonderful post. I had a bit of a lightbulb moment last week, when I realized that I needed more poetry and music in my life, and less podcasts and heavy reading. It was as if the logos had fallen out of balance with the mythos, and I was experiencing disquiet as a result. I love your inclusion of The Jesus Storybook Bible as an example, and you're so right. Also, that podcast episode with Angelina is one of my all-time favorites and I have shared it with many people.

    1. Yes, I often think the logos overtakes the mythos in my life too. I just re-listened to the Angelina piece again. I really wish I could take her Beowolf course but it just doesn't fit right now. I hope you are finding something for your mythos! Have you seen this devotional - it used to be given to teachers when they gradated from the CM teacher training - Nancy Kelley has republished it in a very nice format. Each daily reading is a quote and often poetry about a virtue, part of the Bible, etc. I am trying to slow down and allow mystery to be mystery and not have to explain everything around here.