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The Importance of Story and Community--The Christian Community
The Christian life begins with a call to follow Jesus Christ. It is a call to discipleship. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, one comes to believe in Jesus Christ, to have faith in Him as Saviour and Lord and to commit one's life to Him as a disciple, eager to follow Him and to learn more about this new found relationship. That call, and the commitment that follows, is the beginning of something new. In 2 Cor. 5:17 Paul writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" But, in addition to this, all believers are initiated into a history, a story that goes back over two thousand years. In some ways, that story, of which they have become a part, is a much bigger story for it has to do with the One through whom all things came into being.
Christian writers often refer to the Bible as a book that tells of the mighty acts of God in history. It can also be understood, I believe, from the perspective of "story." The Old Testament can be read as a story about a peoople's journey with God. Israel is a people formed by a story, and in Deut. 6:21-25, we learn how the story was passed on from one generation to another. At the Feast of the Passover the father would tell the youngest present, "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent miraculous signs and wonders---great and terrible---upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that He promised on oath to our forefathers. The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today."
Also, in the New Testament, we know that the Christian Faith began, not with a creedal statement, but with stories about Jesus that were later to be recorded in the Gospels. These stories were handed on from one person to another, from one generation to another and today aspects of those stories remain the essence of Christian sacramental worship. In 1 Cor.11:23, Paul writes, "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.'"