August 19, 2011 – Aloha Friday Message – Stories


Read it online here.

Psalm 138:1
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; I will worship at your holy temple.

Some of you already know this is my favorite Psalm. Every time we use it as the Responsorial Psalm – as we will this Sunday – I think about how wonderful it will be to stand at the entry to the Throne of God. There will be myriads and myriads serving and listening to God. I imagine the sounds of singing and shouts of praise coming from billions and trillions of angelic voices will be awe-inspiring. Thinking about it is, of course, only a glimmer of what it will truly be like. Whatever I can conceive about it is a pale and poorly extended metaphor – a paltry parable – but still illustrative of the eminently elegant Glory of Heaven. The parable I can grasp; the reality mystifies and humbles me.

In our daily readings this week, we’ve read many of the parables of Jesus. His parables – his extended metaphors – taught the disciples (and probably even many who did not follow him) about the radically-new idea of the Kingdom of Heaven. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like ….” I counted at least 30 times that phrase occurs in the Gospel of Matthew. In most of those occurrences, the setting is a parable, some of which are very short. One of my favorites among the short ones is in Matthew 19:13-14.

I think all of us enjoy hearing those parables, those stories by and about Jesus. When I was a kid we sang a little hymn about that. The hymn was written 126 years ago, and is still popular today. Perhaps you, too, remember singing it. You can find it here.

Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

First let me hear how the children stood round His knee,
And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;
Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,
All in the love light of Jesus’ face.

Tell me, in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea,
Tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee;
And how the Maker, ready and kind,
Chided the billows, and hushed the wind.

Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand.
One of His heralds, yes, I would sing
Loudest hosannas, “Jesus is King!”

Show me that scene in the garden, of bitter pain.
Show me the cross where my Savior for me was slain.
Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

Words: William H. Parker, 1885.
Music: Stories of Jesus, Frederick A. Challinor, 1903

And Beloved, here is one of the many reasons I write to you each week. I love to tell the story! (Please check out this link and play the midi file at the bottom.)

• Thank you for your prayers for the persons who need help dealing with addictions. Also thank you for your prayers for those who have been just crushed by the loss of saving and income and job benefits and homes and livelihoods. This economic crisis – felt on every continent – is a tsunami of grief and suffering for many.
• Please continue to pray for the deliverance of the oppressed, the orphaned, the starving, and those suffering the ravages of famine, war, and terror. Please also put some muscle in those prayers by helping support relief efforts.
• CT has asked for your prayerful support while preparing for an examination that could lead to advancement at work and more stability for the family. Please ask for clear-minded and effective preparation that will lead to successful completion of the examination.

All of us know how to hear the stories of Jesus. Many of us know how to tell the stories of Jesus. I am asking you today to seriously work on knowing how to be the story of Jesus – be the Gospel for everyone who otherwise might not hear The Good News in the Stories of Jesus. As you work on this goal, you will find yourself in the presence of the angels singing God’s praise not only in your life today but forever at the entrance to God’s Great Throne.

For other instances referring to Psalm 138, see The Moon Beam Network for these dates, or go to the search box near the bottom of the right column and type in 138.


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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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