by Glen Edward Quiring
Pastor NewGen Faith
My son and I read literature at bedtime. Historically, we've read a somewhat lighter fair; The Butter Battle Book is one of our favorites. It is amazing; Dr. Seuss has a way of instructing and entertaining simultaneously.
Recently though, we started reading the bible -- the Old Testament to be exact. We started with the stories of creation and got through the stories of liberation found in Exodus. We would have kept reading in the Old Testament. But I uncovered a great picture book of Homer's Odyssey in a Barnes & Noble store in this holiday season. I couldn't resist the artwork so I bought it and figured we could read that too.
Quite to my surprise, there exists common themes in these two pieces of ancient literature. In Homer's great poem, we discovered Odysseus wandering around the sea in a fashion not unlike the Israelite's wandering in the desert wilderness. We also learned that Odysseus' men feared to move into a part of the land because there were giants - a theme also found the Old Testament (remember when Joshua sent out spies to check out the promised land?). We learned that Odysseus defeats the giant cyclops just as King David defeats Goliath -- the giant philistine -- both giants being too arrogant for their own good.
Narratives -- stories -- if you will, don't pretend to be prescriptive. Rather, they connect us to our humanity and to the millions who have gone before us on this little planet. They connect us to common struggles and common victories. Perhaps most importantly, they connect us to the values and wisdom of generations past. This connection doesn't insist we live as they did in the story. But is does attempt to inform and inspire us. It beckons to us: live valiantly, thrive, dare to do the impossible.
Each of us can thrive and flourish. I can't tell you how. I can only say that it is our calling. And this I know, for the narrative
tells me so.
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