On 9th February the Housegroup will be leading worship based around some parables of Jesus.
If you were asked about bits of the bible you can remember, I am fairly confident some of the words, phrases or stories would relate to parables – the sower casting seed, the Good Samaritan, the prodigal son, the lost sheep, the wise man building his house on rock, all these and many more are parables.
We remember them because Jesus was a great story-teller, and because stories are a great way to engage people, whether the story is a novel, a TV drama, a comedy sketch or a TED talk. Stories can take us to another place, but the best ones can also make us look at the world differently, and change us.
In the introduction to her book, ‘Surprised by grace: parables and prayers’, Susan Duber writes that, “the parables are not meant to be just mildly interesting (at least, I don’t think so), but to help us discover God and some truths we’re likely to miss about the way things really are.” She goes on to say, “Don’t assume for a moment that the way you’ve been taught to read them is the ‘right’ one. Read them, as Jewish rabbis might encourage you to do, believing that ‘there is always another interpretation.’”
For many of us, who have been listening to these stories all our lives, the difficulty can be that they have become too familiar, and we think we know what they mean. As a housegroup we tried to ask two questions:
what is normal or familiar about the story?
what is odd or different about the story?
We found this really helped us to think about what the story is trying to say, and certainly for me personally, I found new ideas about what it might mean to live in God’s kingdom. And, for me, that is what bible study, especially in a group, is all about.
So whether you’re able to be there on Feb 9th or not, why not re-read a familiar parable and think about the 2 questions above, and see where they take you …