Ken Burns has said that he has chosen to use stories in his documentaries because trying to reason with facts is less effective in engaging people, getting people to think, and even changing people’s minds than telling truthful stories. Knowing 6 million people died in the Holocaust should get us to think deeply about what we need to do to keep anything like that from ever happening again, but Burns believes hearing the stories of those involved has a better chance.
We have started a new worship series at Tyner UMC titled, “Having Words with Jesus.” Jesus was the master storyteller. Cathy made a short video that captures why Jesus chose to use stories to teach us. (Having Words with Jesus video link.)
In interviews Burns has said that some of the stories in his new documentary are going to be hard for Americans to hear. When I study the stories Jesus told, it is a bit shocking how hard many of them are to hear too! Loretta Schmidt’s sermon at Tyner UMC this last Sunday on “Counting the Cost” showed me I often don’t want following Jesus to cost me too much! We sang the hymn, “I Surrender All,” and I’ll just say I haven’t been surrendering it all. The truth can be painful if we are brave enough to face it.
We call the collection of stories about Jesus and all the stories He told the Gospel. Gospel means the “good news” or “good story.” Jesus said that the truth, even when painful, sets us free. The story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection tells the sometimes challenging "good story” of His love that forgives and redeems us.
All our lives tell stories. What do others see in the stories we tell? What do others see in the story our lives tell? Do they see a “good story” filled with love, forgiveness, hope, even of redemption?