Have you ever heard a good story teller? I mean the kind that grabs you from the beginning and holds you throughout and sometimes long after the tale is told.
The Bible has some amazing stories in it. But there are so few of us laity that can relay the stories in the way that captures the imagination of those around us. Yet, the lessons they teach can provide a great springboard for catechesis.
Do you remember the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:13-32)? Now picture yourself standing with them. They are walking along, conversing and debating.
The story goes that Jesus himself drew near and walked with them. At first, they were prevented from recognizing him. Although they were followers of Christ, they did not see that it was Him.
Jesus asked them “What are you discussing as you walk along?”. They must have been surprised because they said, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”
Now a good story teller would weave some interesting questions into the story to draw the listener in. For example, wouldn’t the followers have seen the marks in Jesus’ hands? A good story teller will have fun with that.
But to become a good story teller, we need to really appreciate the Word of God. We need to soak in the stories. That ties right in with the Bishops plan for evangelization. Objective 93 encourages us to “To foster an appreciation of God’s Word in the lives of all Catholics”. One of the strategies cited states “more frequent individual reading of the Bible among Catholics”.
Put your creative hat on. How can we help people to find ways to engage those busy Catholics in more frequent Bible reading so we can bring scripture into our daily lives.
Beep Beep Beep cshhhhh: We interrupt this article to bring you a message from the Emergency Evangelization System.
Nearly everyone in the country has a large object in their homes suitable for evangelizing the youngest to the oldest. It is called a “refrigerator” and almost everyone goes by it at least once a day. We now resume our regularly scheduled article.”
I recommend a very simple technique that I will refer to as “refrigerator evangelization”. Move those magnets you got on that vacation to your local aquarium to the side and make room for some spiritually nourishing bible magnets. I am sure you can find some at your local Catholic bookstore. If you prefer to make some yourself and have a yearning to let your creative side loose, I recommend making your own.
Using royalty free images from some clipart/image company, you can create your own designs. There are magnet making companies out on the web that will make the magnets based on your designs. At the website below, you will see an example of two magnets I made. I made a set of 44. (Note: Make sure you create your own images or purchase royalty free images before creating your magnets.)
Create a set of them yourself with favorite bible stories and watch the awareness of Bible stories grow in your very own home. When someone asks about the story, that is your cue to practice your “story telling”. Don’t worry if you stumble a bit. Over time, you will refine that story telling ability!
Here is another method that I have used in my parish “To foster an appreciation of God’s Word in the lives of all Catholics”. Take a look at Marcus Grodi’s Coming Home Network website where you’ll find a free download entitled “Read the Bible and the Catechism in a Year”.
You can print this out and place a copy on your evangerator… I mean refrigerator. Make people in your parish aware of this as well. It provides a systematic way to follow a path through the Bible with corresponding readings from the Catechism. Its handy “check box” allows you to track your progress. If you forget a day or two, just pick up with the next in the sequence when the time allows. Although you can print these out for free, I purchased the beautiful brochures for a very reasonable price and put them in an existing brochure stand in my parish. If you get a group of people doing the same thing, you have the basis for a study group.
Now that you are equipped to build that Biblical foundation, take one story as a starting point and spend time thinking about it. Not the whole Bible. Not a whole book. Just one story. Become an expert.
Back to our story: So there were those two followers. They had reached their home and had that awkward moment. Do they invite this man in for some supper who had shared the greatest scripture study in the history of the world. What do you do? Well they decided to invite him in.
They did not realize it but there was Jesus, the Savior of the world sitting at table with them. He took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. And do you know what happened?
Well, you’ll just have to read it for yourself!