Aficionados of children's TV in the early 2000s will be familiar with the title of this month's article, as it featured in the opening lines of every show... (Do you remember "What's the story in Balamory"?) We are once again spending time on the Isle of Mull near Tobermory where much of the series was filmed...
The Methodist Conference has responded to a call from last year's 3Generate Youth and Children's Conference for the church to hold a Year of Testimony – for the church (that's all of us, not just a selected few, telling how God is at work in our lives and our communities).
As we think about how we might go about this across the Circuit, I invite you to give some thought and prayerful reflection to the following which you can find on the Methodist Church website:
God invites us to claim the truth that we are part of God's story.
Our testimony is our story about being part of God's story.
As we share our honest testimony, we expand our experience of God, our understanding of ourselves, and our participation in the Body of Christ.
Our testimonies are never ours alone. They are embedded in a community of faith. So they are always part of the ongoing conversation of the community, a conversation that builds responsibility and trust.
God's story + our story
The Bible itself includes a chorus of diverse testimonies – stories of individuals and communities as they are addressed by, encounter, and respond to the living God.
-As we tell God's story, God's story "tells" us, and we have a new story to tell. – Lillian Daniel
-Preparing to tell our stories in the context of God's story, and telling those stories in public, and trusting our stories to be received and engaged by the community – each of these practices and all of them connected together are channels of God's grace, opportunities for the individual teller and the whole church to awaken to God.
-Testimony always includes a true life story, but it is more than a life story.
-We know our stories are part of God's story when we can reflectively connect them to the love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, the challenging power of the Holy Spirit, and/or the vast experience – pain, joy, awe, lament, doubt, failure, transformation, etc. – of the first disciples and apostles.
This year's President and Vice-President have produced a book called "So what's the Story" which can be a very helpful guide to the sharing of our stories both with each other and across the wider community...
"This is my story, this is my song..."