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Telling, Acting, Eating, Living the Story

Telling, Acting, Eating, Living the Story

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Published by Doug Floyd
Drawing from Biblical stories and my own personal story of change and struggle, this is a reflection on learning how to retell our story in light of the Gospel story.
Drawing from Biblical stories and my own personal story of change and struggle, this is a reflection on learning how to retell our story in light of the Gospel story.

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Published by: Doug Floyd on Oct 07, 2010
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10/09/2010

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Telling, acting, eating, living the story by Doug FloydOctober 6, 2010Last week I enjoyed the opportunity to speak to a group in the healthcare field about navigatingthrough crisis and change. It’s a bit ironic. I was speaking because the original speaker had acrisis and was unable to attend. In the midst of change, I spoke about change.Some changes in life are so dramatic, so catastrophic that we never go back. Or as Bob Dylansays, “You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.” We cannot return to theway things were. Life changes unalterably. A person goes blind. Another person receives the giftof sight. Both lives change in unexpected ways.Dramatic changes can mark the beginning of grief and bitterness and despair, but they also mark the beginning of a new way of life filled with surprise and wonder. Our health may change, our  job may change, our relationships may change, our world may change.As we process change, we tell a story about that change. It might be good or bad or funny or tearful, but we begin to tell a story. As I spoke to the audience last week, I invited them to telltheir story. In fact, I suggested they tell their life story in 30 seconds. The 30 second boundaryforces some details to the top and others vanish. It may help us focus on what story we arehearing in our head.They told their stories, then I told Israel’s story.After leaving Egypt, Israel recounted how YHWH dramatically rescued them from slavery andformed them into a people at Mt Sinai. They told the story to their children. They acted the storyin worship. They ate the story in Passover. Whether rising, walking, sitting or sleeping, theyrehearsed the story of God’s faithful rescue over and over. This story was and is good news, alsoknown as Gospel.By rehearsing the story, they fixed their heart and minds and bodies upon the action of the Lord.By rehearsing the Gospel story, they learned to trust in the God they could not see and could notshape into forms.But there came a day when they forgot to rehearse the story. They quit acting the story. They quiteating the story. They started listening to other stories of other gods. They forgot the faithfulnessof the Lord. They forgot the commands of the Lord. They forgot the goodness of the Lord.I know what it’s like to forget the story of God’s goodness. There have been times when Ithought, dreamed and told the wrong story. In my story, I questioned God’s goodness, hisfaithfulness and his love for me. Once we tell the wrong story, we might get stuck in it.In 2008, our church building burned and I lost my job. These two events impacted me in adeeper, harder way than over 20 years of battling with kidney disease. A dark cloud engulfed me.
Telling, acting, eating, living the story by Doug Floyd,1
 
I started telling myself a story of failure and forsakenness. In the first story, I began recountingthe past 20 years and questioned every decision I ever made. In the second story, I questionedGod’s faithfulness.Both stories battled in my imagination. Some days I’d think every decision I ever made was a bad one. Other days, I wonder why God chose to make me fail in everything I touched. I criedout to God, “Look at all I sacrificed for you! Why won’t you help me?”The stories stole my joy. My gifted wife saw these false stories as a deathlike grip that wasconsuming me. In the midst of these discouraging tales, I had to hear again the Gospel story, or the good news God’s faithfulness.Israel had to hear the Gospel story. Her existence depended on it. After generations of forgettingthe stories of YHWH’s lovingkindness, Israel had become apostate. God in his goodness preserved them and honored the obedience of a few righteous kings, but eventually He gavethem over to their false stories.Babylon led the broken people into captivity. Babylon burned down the Temple. Babylondestroyed the land.The people wept. Their songs and their stories failed them. So they hung up the harp and quitsinging altogether. Now they lived in an alien land with alien gods. Abandoned by the God of their fathers. Lost in the darkness. They needed to hear the Gospel story.Into this dark story of exile, appears a strange man who sees a strange light. Ezekiel encountersthe glory of the Lord. The glory that once resided in the Holy of Holies appears to him on theshore of the Chebar canal while he stands among the exiles. To Ezekiel’s surprise, YHWH didnot abandon his people as they stood by dark waters. He came in the midst of wind and stormand fire; in the midst of the four living creatures; in the midst of the sound of many water.YHWH came in glory.And He gave Ezekiel a new story, a Gospel story. As Ezekiel talked, ate, sang and acted out theWord of the Lord, he exposed Israel’s sickly condition. He revealed the death that infected their worship, their imagination, their stories. He began to tell a story about a valley of dry bones.
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I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, arattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.
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And I looked, and behold, there weresinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them.
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Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say tothe breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on theseslain, that they may live.”
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So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them,and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
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Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say,‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’
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Therefore prophesy, andsay to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.
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And you shall know that I am
Telling, acting, eating, living the story by Doug Floyd,2

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