August 13, 2013
The Story, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 33
That was my immediate reaction a few weeks ago listening to a speaker; a planter whose ideology centered about deletion of personal testimony and faithful reiteration of GOD’s story. The message was, “It’s not about YOU. It’s about GOD. So, leave yourself out of it!”
Maybe it’s because I came about my faith through a back door; sort of like the one we used to use to visit that little old Italian restaurant in Stamford, CT. My father’s father took me there, often after spending a day “working” at his office placing postage stamps on legal sized envelopes and using an ink stamp to imprint the return address of the “Niles Adjustment Company.” It wasn’t much to look at, but wonderful scents wafted through the screen door. Pots and pans would be banging, a little bit of yelling in Italian. We always passed through a busy kitchen, and made our way into a small room. Just a few tables, hardly ever anyone else there. I did wonder about it being so small, but not enough to investigate. As explanation, I formed the uninformed opinion that they must sell a lot of take-out pizzas.
Then one day, as a family, not just me and my grandfather, but my parents and others, as well, drove to dinner. I was looking forward to my little Italian restaurant, and sort of wondering where everyone would fit. I was disappointed when we pulled into an unfamiliar parking lot, but I knew better than to complain. Kids who were my age then, and adults who are my age now, know what I’m talking about.
With the hurried help of waitstaff, we assembled in the dining room, helping slide tables and move chairs. Even so, it was a fancier place than where Poppy had been taking me. Cloth napkins, and glowing votives, full sets of silverware, water glasses and wine glasses. Swinging doors with teasingly small windows lead into the kitchen. It wasn’t until menus arrived, that I had an epiphany. We were in the exact same restaurant! We had merely used the front door. That was a whole different story. It turned out that my little room, all of what I knew of the restaurant - was just the on the other side of the kitchen.
In some ways, there is a likeness to my relationship with the Old and New Testaments. As far as I knew, the Bible ended at the Old Testament. I never questioned it. I knew that there was another “different” Bible that others used. I regarded them as “substitution” Bibles; I didn’t really understand that the New was the sequel to the Old. I just thought it was the “wrong” Bible, because that is what I was taught.
I admit my life experiences and my changing paths, make me feel different. Although, they do not make me more knowledgeable. My Judaic roots are surface, at best. Looking behind enables me to see how far I have come. I don’t need to completely turn my back on my past to make it to the future – it’s still a valid reference point. I also might not need the future if I can finally succeed in living in the here and now.
So anyway, going through the back door, then learning there’s more - that is my strong testimony.
I do not believe it is enough to simply tell the ancient story. I believe it is about “me.” It’s about the people I’ve met, who’ve told me and showed me how it was and is for them. It was their stories that lead me backwards – to and through learning. That was one thing I could agree with – a recommendation from the pulpit: “Instead of running towards your future, walk backwards into it.”The more I learn, the more I know – the better I am able to understand: GOD did this for them before me - in ancient times and recently. And then… HE chose to do it FOR ME.
It is equally, or perhaps even more important to share that GOD is still leading us to the right path, still performing miracles. Through the Bible HE is telling us, “I’ve done it before… for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joshua. For Daniel, and Ruth, the peoples of Israel and the Disciples , and I will do it for you.”
So, No – I don’t see any problem with testimony - You are GOD’s story as much as the Bible is HIS story.” Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s good to be included in the company of GOD’s blessings.
Posted by jaselin at August 13, 2013 07:22 PM