The table is central to life. We eat at tables, talk around tables, meet new friends around tables, and receive nourishment around the table. In this series, we will explore how the table informs and shapes our Christian life together.
What’s My Line?
In the 1950s and ’60s there was a television game show called “What’s My Line?” A guest would come on and answer a series of questions posed by the panelists who were trying to guess the occupation of the guest. Each week, there was a mystery guest who was only asked “yes” or “no” questions by the blindfolded panelists (because, presumably, the mystery guest was famous enough to be recognized). One of the surprises of the show would be discovering something new or unknown about the guest.
It was a way of learning someone’s story. You asked a question. You listened. You learned. You became more aware of who someone is and what motivates or inspires them.
I’m not sure that we have done a very good job in the church in listening to one another’s stories. We can see how God is or has been at work in our lives and we assume that’s how God works for everyone. Learning to ask and to listen helps us to learn. Mostly, what we learn is the many ways that God is at work. When I listen to you, what I discover is God’s story narrated by you.
Conversely, we also seem reluctant to tell our own story. Fear of being misunderstood, anxiety that our version of the God story is not quite as dramatic as someone else’s, uncertainty that we have misread our own lives – all can paralyze us into silence. We need a safe place to rehearse the story so that we may with confidence tell it to others and fulfill our covenantal commitment to witness.
In the gospel of Luke, we read of Jesus exorcizing a man of his demons and restoring him to wholeness (Luke 8:26-39). At the end of the story, Jesus instructs him “Return to your home and tell what God has done for you.” Start sharing the good news at home. It becomes easier to tell. But be sure and tell it.
This Sunday as we reflect on “A Better Story” we’ll think about our stories and how, when, and where we tell them. We will hear stories from our ASP teams about the ways they have witnessed God at work and we will find encouragement to share our stories. And who knows? You may even discover something new or unknown about the preacher!
I hope to see you Sunday at the story-telling.
Grace and peace.
Rev. Carl Fraizer
Glimpses of Heaven:
An elderly couple were on their front porch, seated in their rocking chairs. Their pastor came by for a visit. The conversation turned to the subject of heaven. They asked their pastor, “What will heaven be like?” Quite startled by the question, the pastor tossed the question back to the couple, “What do you think it will be like?” Without hesitation, the husband said, “I think it will be like rocking in my rocking chair, for all eternity.” “O no!” his wife exclaimed. “What’s wrong?” their pastor asked. She replied, “If there’s one thing I just can’t stand, it’s his squeaking rocking chair!”
I don’t know if there are “squeaking” and “non-squeaking” sections in heaven. I’ll leave that to God! I like what Rev. Doug Jessee once said about heaven: “I know neither the room temperature nor the arrangement of furniture in heaven. The bible doesn’t give us the details. But the bible tells us all we need to know. And it is that God will take care of us.”
I believe we are given glimpses of heaven in Scripture:
“Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more…” Revelation 21:4
“The one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making
all things new.'” Revelation 21:5
“For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised
imperishable, and we’ll be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52
I believe God places a longing in our hearts for home, a home that is with God, in joy, and eternal. God would not place the longing for home within us, without the promise to fulfill it. I believe there is a “thin veil” between this life and the next life, and sometimes we can see through it. I can’t prove it, but I can give a witness to what I’ve experienced … A couple of weeks ago, Polly and I spent a day at the Durham Museum of Life & Sciences with Kristina Black and her five-year-old triplets, Ben, Josh & Sophia. When we stepped into the “Butterfly House” it was as if the “thin veil” vanished. Time stood still. The release of butterflies was breath taking. The surrounding beauty invaded our senses with a feeling of peace. One word came to mind: “Glory!”
By keeping heaven in our heart and on our mind, we can gain strength to handle life here and now, as we rest in the fact that God’s best is yet to come. Join us this Sunday as we ponder what our faith teaches us about life after death. You might even catch a glimpse as we worship together!
“We’ve been a given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home. Our resurrected bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.” 2 Corinthians 5:4-5 (MSG)
In the “non-squeaking” rocking chair,
H. William Green
Pastor of Congregational Care