Wednesday, September 23, 2009

parabolically speaking

she suggested we try to write a parable this week.

in my women’s bible study this semester, we’re studying Jesus’ parables. i’m itching to get started, to tell you the truth. an entire semester studying the amazing stories Jesus told sounds a little more exciting than laboring through the wrecked families and tragic heroes of genesis, as we did all last year. don’t get me wrong: i learned lots in that study, and i’m very grateful for having done it. but, well, i’m just a little more enthusiastic as we start this year. i love a good story, and this semester promises discussions of some life-long favorites.

so when our leader suggested in her introduction to the study that we try to write a parable, my interest was piqued. at least one pair of eyes rested on me, one pair that knows my sometime-closet-writer self. that thing i mentioned here about telling me i can’t do something? well, that’s pretty much what she did. of course, i don’t think i can write a parable worthy of any notice, but if i were to write a parable, what would it be about?

which got me thinking, as you might have guessed, about the Writer of all life and just what story He is trying to tell with mine. if a parable is a simple story that teaches a truth or a life-lesson, why can’t my life be one? if Jesus told parables to teach his disciples and contemporaries how to live, couldn’t the Author of my life be using my story to demonstrate some truth?

i’m sure now, having failed to figure out even how to start, that i cannot write a parable. but if i’m being “written” into one, what is the truth being taught? the soundtrack for my week has been “fear not,” a choral piece written by carl nygard that we’re singing in my ensemble in church on sunday. i didn’t really choose this soundtrack, as i have in past weeks, but as i’ve sung along with my cd in the car all week (rehearsing my new alto part), the words have started to sink in. “my love will surround you and hold you for you are precious to me, dear to me.” precious. like the lost coin, maybe, in the parable in luke 15. or like the lost sheep in that same place. or maybe the prodigal son. precious. if i’m the lost thing in the parable that is my life, do i really believe that i’m precious, that my finding could be cause for rejoicing? what would i be, and lost where, and found by whom, and celebrated how, in my parable?

Jesus’ parables aren’t true stories. He made them up, presumably, to demonstrate some principle or truth for His followers. is my life--my true story--created similarly to demonstrate something for those around me? to teach others not to fear, to trust, to understand what it means to be precious and dear? if God is using me as a parabolic lesson, am i a willing participant? am i filling the role for which i am intended?

i don’t suspect that, were they real, the characters in Jesus’ parables would ever have known their importance to the story. that’s the beauty of the parables: they related everyday experiences and assigned cosmic importance to them. would the victim rescued by the good samaritan have understood his fame, or would he just have been glad to have his life spared at the hands of a stranger-who-would-have-been-an-enemy ? i don’t expect that i’ll ever understand just exactly what God is up to in my life or what His purpose is for me. but i am determined not to fear His purpose, and i hope and trust that, even as i am surrounded by His love, i am being used for His good work. may it be unto me as He has said, or in this case, as He is writing.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

"may it be unto me as he has said." Amen. Blessings abundant on you for that, Daniele.