For thousands of years, in every nation, sharing stories from the past has been part of the culture of all peoples. Gathering around the fire to listen to the stories and legends of old told by parents, grandparents and even great grandparents became the “stuff” of which we are made, who we are and where we came from. Often these stories are in the form of parables, tales which are told to make some great point about life and how we can best live it, not just for our own benefit but for the benefit of all the community. Sometimes they are specific stories about the lives of great leaders within those communities, who by the example of their lives, have inspired and encouraged others.
Within our Christian communities, Sunday School, Bible classes and more recently, house groups, have echoed this ongoing teaching and nurturing. But today we live in a world where it seems people no longer have the appetite for such things. Why? Perhaps it is simply because the sheer number of distractions that surround us drown out the quiet voices of calm reflection. There are simply too many instantly available forms of “entertainment” demanding our attention and leaving no time for more meaningful experiences. We are content with the shallow when we could be immersed in deeper things.
I remember my grandmother saying that in her youth when there wasn’t even radio, never mind television, they made their own entertainment. Gathering around the piano to sing both happy and sad songs no doubt brought out many an anecdote and opportunities for younger listeners to learn more about life. Sadly, for me at least, it seems that conversation nowadays revolves largely around email, Facebook and Twitter rather than face to face over a cup of tea. However, there are glimmers of hope in that websites such as this, Sanctuary First, try to use this modern media to reach out and carry on these vital conversations at least in some form. Perhaps just another example of how our all powerful God can use anything and everything to draw us to His Word. Praise God!
Holy Father, encourage us through Your Spirit to set aside quality time for conversation with family, friends and strangers. To refuse to be distracted by the noise of the world and instead to listen to each other’s voice, and especially to listen for Your voice. May we offer hospitality to friend and stranger alike, to teach and to learn from each other, and through this sharing of our common experiences, to lay the foundations of peace between nations. Amen.
1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known,
that our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
5 He established a decree in Jacob,
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach to their children;
6 that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
7 so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;