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Daily Encouragement - January 18

One of my favorite hymns is “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.” The 2nd verse is, “First let me hear how the children stood round his knee, and I shall fancy his blessing resting on me; words full of kindness, deeds full of grace, all in the love-light of Jesus’ face.” Brian McLaren and Gareth Higgins have written some examples of how Jesus came to subvert all stories of violence and harm, not repeat them. Today I want to share some of what they have to say.

Instead of patriarchal stories of domination, he taught and embodied service, reconciliation, and self-giving.

Instead of stories of violent revolution or revenge on the one hand or compliant submission on the other, he taught and modeled transformative nonviolent resistance.

Instead of the purification stories of scapegoating or ethnic cleansing, he encountered and engaged the other with respect, welcome, neighborliness, and mutuality.

Instead of inhabiting a competitive story of accumulation, he advocated stewardship, generosity, sharing, and a vision of abundance for all.

Instead of advocating escapist stories of isolation, he sent his followers into the world to be agents of positive change, like salt, light, and yeast.

And instead of leaving the oppressed in stories of victimization, he empowered them with a vision of faith, hope, and love that could change the world. [1]

The hearts of more and more children, young people, adults, and senior citizens are yearning for a new story, a story of love rather than hate, of creativity rather than destruction, of win-win cooperation rather than win-lose competition, of peace-craft rather than war-craft. They are waiting for a new story to explore, inhabit, and tell. [2]

I believe that we are the keepers of what that “new” story can be, and that it is incumbent upon all of us to tell it clearly and without unneeded embellishment. In times of unrest and chaos this is an encouraging opportunity and challenge. However, remaining silent isn’t really a viable option. We are all looking for a larger and more loving story in which to participate. This is what God gives us!

[1] Brian D. McLaren and Gareth Higgins, The Seventh Story: Us, Them, & the End of Violence (Porch: 2018), 79.

[2] Ibid., 80–81

Lord God, your presence leads us to take steps that are outside our comfort zones sometimes. Yet we know that it is your plan that what needs to be shared is shared. Help us to hear your call and be part of the vision of your future. In the name of Jesus; amen.

Rev. David Brosnan

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