“Stories are verbal acts of hospitality.”
When I read the above I immediately thought of Jesus’ parables. By calling them “parables,” let’s not forget they are stories. Some short, some micro-short, some longer but all stories in one form or another.
Did you ever wonder why Jesus so often told stories, rather than presenting theological discourses as many of us might be prone to do?
Could it be Jesus is the gracious host, not just standing at the door but opening the door so we can get a glimpse of what is on the other side? We begin to get a first, a partial look, at the landscape of the Kingdom and he invites us in. Yes, he shows such hospitality we are not only invited in, but offered a seat at the table.
He offers food, rest and even some work to do alongside him.
I often fear we have heard his stories so often, they have not only lost their freshness, but their surprises also. “Ears to hear that do not hear.”
How do we hear them as for the first time? Maybe I’ll try to watch Jesus and hear Jesus tell the stories instead of listening to what I think I know about his stories.
“Story is the most natural way of enlarging and deepening our sense of reality, and then enlisting us as participants in it. Stories open doors to areas or aspects of life that we didn’t know were there, or had quit noticing out of over-familiarity, or supposed were out-of-bounds to us. They then welcome us in. Stories are verbal acts of hospitality.”
― Eugene H. Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology