Still the Same Old Story
Excerpt from Acts 13:26-42
“As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people urged them to speak about these things again the next Sabbath.”
Reflection by Martin B. Copenhaver
When our daughter, Alanna, was still a young girl, she already had a shelf full of books in her room. At bedtime, I would ask her to pick out the book she would like me to read to her. Most often she would not pick out a new book, but instead one of her favorites, like Good-Night Moon.
I would read, “In the great room there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and a picture of the cow jumping over the moon…” And when I reached the end of the story Alanna would always say, “Again!” Just tell it again. The same old story is enough.
When we are older we tire of most stories after the first few readings. But there is one story we do not tire of, because it stirs something in us each time. It’s the story of God’s fierce love affair with the world, known first in God’s relationship with the people of Israel, and then through Jesus Christ. We can no more tire of it than we can tire of the words, “I love you,” which, of course, is just the message this story brings, God’s love made known to us.
Paul told this same story in his sermon to the people of Antioch. So, as they shook hands with Paul at the door after worship, they asked him to tell the same story the following week. Again! Just tell it again.
God, thank you for the old, old story of your love for me and for all humankind.
About the Author
Martin B. Copenhaver is Senior Pastor, Wellesley Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the author, with Lillian Daniel, of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: the Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9
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