“Hey dad, tell us about the time you drove your father’s car into the garage door!” (True story).
“Tell us again how you proposed to mom at the same spot you met her!” (Another true story).
“Remind us how you used to sing into our infant ears, ‘My Bonnie lies over the ocean’… (Why was that silly song so soothing to us?)”
Yes, family stories flow. Over time, some become favorites, worthy of active remembrance as members receive, relate, and repeat the report, whether sad or glad. But what is it about episodes that animate, making both the teller and the listener light-up as the story gets relived and relayed?
Do you have a family archive of moments, an album of awesomeness, of greatest hits as told by beloved kin? Might you even have a record, or an actual recording, of a storyteller in the act of loving-to-tell? Maybe she is seated at a dinner table, or waxing warmly around a campfire. Maybe he is presiding from the front seat of a car during a long ride, or while lounging in a deck chair on a lazy day.
“Remember when … ?”
“Remember where … ?”
“Let me tell you!”
How precious it is for generations to receive such rich details and delights! How lovely it is for future sons and daughters to find occasion to step inside a family drama, embracing action and outcome, while fortifying the kindred spirit.
Mom! Dad! Tell!
In God’s family, the storytelling reaches cosmic proportions as the narrative begins not simply “Once upon a time,” but wonderfully, “In the beginning.” From that opening line to the final benediction heard in the Revelation, scripture unfurls the saga of a Father’s love, revealed in his Son.
As Jesus himself expressed this kind of telling to his disciples, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45).
The family story we tell is about Jesus. He is the Savior and the subject of a story that is true, transforming, triumphant, and timeless. This is precisely why his followers, his family, love to tell his story.
An old recording of this household affection can be heard in a hymn by Katherine Hankey as she declares, “I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love. I love to tell the story because I know ‘tis true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else could do.”
If that lyric rings true, why would you not tell that story! How could the chronicle of the Christ possibly slip away from the list of family favorites, or away from the lips of his family members? For real: An epic that reveals how lost children are graciously restored to glory? Do tell!
As Hankey adds, this same story will be her “theme in glory.” Notably, she explains further how she loves to tell this story because it’s “pleasant to repeat” and because “some have never heard this message of salvation.” As if to emphasize a joy that carries urgency, a need to spread the news of an “old, old story of Jesus and his love.”
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:46-48).