Keeping the Story Alive

Reflection on Deuteronomy 6:20-21 (NLT)

In the future, your children will ask you, “What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the Lord our God has commanded us to obey?” Then you must tell them, “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand.”

I read somewhere that storytelling helps the mind impose order on the world’s nonsense. Stories have been used throughout the centuries to transmit information from one generation to the next so that the mistakes of the centuries will not be repeated out of ignorance. Our stories are works in progress.

A curious thing about stories — people tend to make the stories fit their personal circumstances. Sometimes they add fresh details and color to the retelling. Sometimes the stories take unexpected twists and turns, as if these accounts had a life of their own.

It occurs to me that perhaps our tendency to embellish the story represents our attempts to get things just right or to tie up loose ends so that the world makes sense to us. Then again, there has always been the impetus to get the story straight and to fill in the blanks – to cling to that which is good and right and true and make it a part of the community’s reality. Besides that, personalizing the story gives us something robust to pass along to our progeny.

Today’s scripture reminds me that we are obligated to keep God’s story going. We are directed to pass along the details of how God delivered us. We are compelled to reinterpret the modern-day essence of ancient miracles in vivid colors so the next generation will know about problems solved, sickness healed, and souls set free by the mighty hand of God. We are moved to make it personal. We retell the tales to those who come after us. We want them to have hope that God is infinitely able to deliver us from Egypt with a firm hand.


Mighty God, we thank you for giving us stories of deliverance to pass along through the generations, for they provide us with hope. Amen.

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