Switching Stories

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the text I am working for this week’s sermon (Mark 8:31-38),  Jesus is challenging the disciples into a new story. He tells them that he “... must undergo great suffering and rejection…”( Mark 8:31.) The disciples do not believe it and resist the transition to a new story. Rarely is it comfortable switching stories.

In his book “Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism,“ old testament scholar, Walter Brueggemann describes faith, the Christian faith, as a matter of switching stories. Brueggemann argues that if you are a Christian, the story that tells you who you are is not the story of your parents, ancestors, gender, ethnic group, or social class. It is the story of the Bible. This is the story of vocation, promise, deliverance... the story that defines who you are and what is really going on in the world. In short, you are lovingly created for service to the true and living God; you belong to the God, Jesus Christ. Now this story is of course very different from stories that define many people’s lives. There, the story is of success, finding the key to a happy, fulfilling life, and the joy of overcoming life’s problems.

Brueggemann defines evangelism as “the invitation to re-imagine our lives…an invitation and summons to switch stories and therefore to change lives." In Mark 8:31-38, through his teaching, Jesus is laying a very different story over our lives. It is the story of the cross, inviting us to revision the story that we thought we were living, one that invites us to see the trials and tribulations that we experience, as a result of faith, as steps on the way to the cross.

Blessings on your Lenten journey. May you have faithful courage to move through seasons of discontent on your way to the contentment of living in the Lenten story.

Still in One Peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen

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