Episodes, Stories and Metanarratives, Oh My!

Symposium bannerSo, the Symposium was outstanding, the topics were challenging and (most importantly) I think the discussion will be beneficial to the preaching task.  In a world of fragmented stories that give meaning and purpose to individual lives we have a unique opportunity to offer a grander narrative, a narrative that spans from creation to the new creation, a mettanarrative that finds its center in the resurrection of Christ.

new creation 14 In other words, this was a call to remember that the teenage single mother in my congregation that is struggling to finish school and care for her child is part of something greater.  The episodes of her struggles and triumphs, the tears and joys of her life, fit into a story of a Creator that has not given up on his creation.  The same Creator that spoke all things into being continues to speak to her even now.  This means that the actions of our Lord have impact on her life and the life she is charged to care for.   After becoming her sin and dying on a cross, she has a Lord who lives never to dies again and such life he promises her. The greater story, like the Lord’s Prayer, lifts our eyes beyond the temporal episodes to the Kingdom that has come and the Will which is being done and the longing for the new creation.

Overall the desire, I think, is to move away from the tendency to telescope our telling of the story.  To check our assumptions and not shrink from the Master’s story.  In a fractured world let us engage with a Word that creates and recreates!

By the way, if you’ve not given much thought to the whole discussion of metanarratives I highly recommend the following article I read a few years ago in First Things by Stanley Fish: “Why We Cant All Just Get Along”


It’s a bit long but well worth the read, enjoy!