My husband Cliff and I just celebrated our 1 year anniversary and in honor of that we planned a trip to New York City. We saw so much, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, the Central Park Zoo, the 5th Avenue Shops, Grand Central Station, Spamalot the Musicial, and so much more. The most meaningful thing we did, though, was probably the tour of the World Trade Center Site. I didn’t know what to expect - would it still be rubble filled? Would there be construction? Who would our tour-guides be?
It turns out that all of the tour-guides for the World Trade Center Site were either survivors of the attacks or family members of those who were killed. Our tour guide was on the 82nd floor of the North Tower when it was hit. One of the other tour guides had a cousin who died in the South Tower. I didn’t learn very many new things on that tour, but that didn’t matter. Suddenly, because I was being guided by those who had actually been there, the story was new all over again. It meant more, it broke my heart all over again, it shocked and angered me like it had the first time. They painted a picture of that day in such vividness that I will never see it the same again.
After we left the tour, I thought about how I’d been impacted by what had been said and realized that the impact came from who said it, rather than how it had been said. That’s a lesson we can all learn from. When it comes to the stories of our faith - the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus - we’ve heard them all before. We can get lost in their familiarity. But when the words come from someone who has fully experienced them - a sinner who has really experienced grace - the stories become new, vivid, painful and true.
Be that storyteller. Be that tour-guide. Let your pain, grief, hope and love shed new light on the gospel of Jesus Christ for all of those around you who have grown tired of the ‘same-old stories.’