This has long been one of my favorite hymns. The last verse always stands out to me when I sing it:
“I Love to tell the story, for those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest. And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song, ‘twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.”
We each have a story to tell, a story that others hunger and thirst to hear. It is a story that is uniquely ours, and yet like that of others. As a pastor, I heard many of these stories as I sat and visited with the people of my congregations. I learned about their families and their church. I learned about their faith journeys.
I remember, while Bishop Pennell was with us, hearing him ask during a break in our Annual Conference session if anyone had a witness that they wanted to share. There was silence at first, and then many people wanted to get to a microphone to tell their story.
We don’t do that enough during our worship anymore. We should because others need to hear what God is doing among us. They also need to hear when we need their prayers.
During this time when we can’t gather in worship like we want to, if you would like to share your story, I will record it for you to share during our recorded worship. You can either come by the church, or I will come to you and record your story. Just call me to set up a time and place.
There is another person who needs to hear our stories, our new Pastor. She has asked for us to share them with her so that she might get to know us as she becomes part of our faith journey. Each of us needs to find a time to do this.
And finally, look around at the people who are part of your life. Who among them would receive encouragement on their journey by hearing your story? It is an old, old story. But it is also a new story.
Lord, give us courage to tell the old, old story. Amen.
Always, to God be the glory!