These words jumped out at me this afternoon as I re-read portions of Eugene Peterson’s outstanding book Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers:
Storytellers invite participation. Storytellers make us aware of the way things are, not just aware as spectators but aware so that we can get in on this world of wonders…. Jesus does not tell stories in order to illustrate large ‘truths’ about God and salvation, the devil and damnation…. Jesus tells stories, not to inform or explain or define, but to get us actively in on the ways and will of God in the homes and neighborhoods and workplaces where we spend our time.
Nothing is more rudely dismissive of Jesus than to treat him as a Sunday school teacher who shows up on Sundays to teach us about God and how to stay out of trouble. If that is the role we assign to Jesus, we will badly misunderstand who he is and what he is about. He is calling us to follow and join him in the work of salvation’s eternal life being carried out right now…. (134-135)
What might happen if we were to take seriously Jesus the storyteller, who calls us into involvement in the unfolding story of God’s work in the world?