Thursday, July 23, 2009

David and Bathsheba

What should a preacher say about David's sordid story? What is there left to say after generations have dealt with it? Today I read a quote from Henri Nouwen about stories;

[A] story creates space. We can dwell in a story, walk around, find our own place. The story confronts but does not oppress; the story inspires but does not manipulate, the story invites us to an encounter, a dialog, a mutual sharing.
If so, is it enough to just tell the story well? How can I, as preacher, set up the "encounter" that we might share in it in a way that opens us to the change it invites? Nouwen also says,
"A story opens a door and offers us space in which to search and boundaries to help us find what we seek, but it does not tell us what to do or how to do it."
It takes careful "preaching" to not TELL or even set up a desired outcome, but to let each person's 'encounter' with the story take them to the place of finding what they seek. That is the challenge of this week. Entering into a familiar story, hearing something new, and mostly hearing something that speaks to our lives today.

It must be why we need preachers, right?

I return to Nouwen for final inspiration before I compose the words I will add to David's story.
As long as we can remind each other of the lives of men and women in whom the love of God becomes manifest, there is reason to move forward to a new land in which new stories are hidden.
Thank you Henri, for inspiration and for your story.


mompriest said...

It is quite a story - a very human story...and thanks for Nouwen quotes!

Diane said...

I love Henri Nouwen.