This week continues the Narrative Lectionary’s summer series on the Psalms. The first week was a psalm of praise for all of the wonderful things God has done. The second week was a psalm of lament, for when we go through a tough time. The third week was a psalm of trust, for when we go through a dark time, but know (or want to remind ourselves) that God has been there in the past for us, and will be there now. This fourth week can be called a psalm of trust, or maybe even a psalm of testimony. The psalmist here has moved through a difficult trial (likely a serious illness in Psalm 30) and has come out the other side, recovered but not the same. The psalmist testifies to God’s help and goodness in their time of trial. “God really listens and helps,” they proclaim. “It happened to me!”
Now, I am a firm believer in the power of a story. A story told well can carry within itself deep truths that have the power to change how we think, how we live. This is why I love the Narrative Lectionary, as it holds up the narrative (story) aspect of Scripture, God’s story. One of the powerful methods of faith formation is when we move from learning the story and stories of God to seeing ourselves in those stories. This movement leads to a powerful end, when we are able to tell our own stories as the continuation of God’s story in the world today.
So, in whatever context you are leading faith formation in this week, give participants the opportunity to tell a part of their story, on how God (through whatever intermediaries) has impacted their lives, even in small ways.
- Give permission- Give people “permission” (and encouragement) to see their stories as important, as stories that matter. God’s story did not end when the canon of Scripture was set, and God’s story should not just be told in world-changing events. God’s story is still playing out in the lives of people all over the world.
- Model- Start by modeling this yourself (and a few others if you can get volunteers). Show people what it looks like to tell their stories, to testify of what God has done for them.
- Start small- Us normal people can be intimidated when we hear the inspiring stories of healing from addiction or terminal illness or deliverance in a time of great danger. Most of our lives are spent in quiet, non-dramatic ways. God’s at work in these times and places as well!
Teaching people how to tell their own stories is a powerful way to form their own faith, as well as the faith of those who hear. Give it a try!
-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)
This week’s free resource is a pair of forms that can be used to engage elementary-aged students in your worship services. Inspired by “sermon notes” that confirmation students are sometimes required to complete, these WorshipNotes are forms that both pre-writers (PK-2nd) and writers (3rd-6th) can use to focus on the worship experience. We recommend that their use be encouraged with positive reinforcement, some sort of reward for completing and turning the forms in. WorshipNotes were initially created to be a part of our Spirit and Truth: Teaching Kids the Heart of Worship curriculum, but the forms here have been broadened to be used in other settings, whether your worship uses the Narrative Lectionary or not.