It seems as though we are not only recapturing the importance of stories but also their significance in helping us see what it is that God is doing all around us. If the call of the church is to join God in his mission rather than the other way around, then one cannot underestimate the value of actually being aware of what he is up to in the church community and in the wider community.
The problem is that we've almost tuned out God's activity from what we see. We see problems and challenges, issues that cannot be overcome and worst of all decline and failure. But are we looking at the right things with the right eyes?
Wanting to celebrate stories requires us to begin to take the time to see what is happening. Not what we expect or want to happen, but the reality of what is happening. I think God is probably doing far more than we actually see at any given point.
I don't know how best to do this. Is it as simple as asking a new question? Perhaps, at the end of each day, we should take time to ask God what we missed and at the beginning ask him to open our eyes to see glimpses of his glory as he works out his purposes in and around us.
I'm hoping that through our current series that when we come to hearing stories of what God is doing in the wider community of church (Marston Vale, World Vision, CMA, World Horizons) we'll have some stories of own to share. Stories not only of what God is doing amongst us but also of what he is doing beyond us.
And, for the record, here's something I think God did on Sunday as we looked at Acts 6 and the theme of being a caring people. As I prepared the short talk for the end of our All-Age Celebration I realised that just as the outcome of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was mission, so it was the outcome of improving the care network in Acts 6. All of a sudden I at least saw the connection between pastoral care and mission. Now all I need to do is work out what it means and look for God at work through our caring network!