Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Epiphany Through Donald Miller's Story Lens

Today is Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas, or the last day of Christmas on the church's liturgical calendar. The day traditionally celebrates the episode in Matthew 2 where the Magi find and worship the Christ child. In our worship service this past Sunday at the Congregational Church, the Magi's story was the first Scripture reading of the New Year.

In my sermon, I took up the New Year's challenge of author Donald Miller and urged the congregation to not make the typical new year's resolution, but resolve to live a good story. Toward this end, Miller suggests we do three things--want something, envision a climatic scene, and create an inciting incident. Each of these elements are essential toward making a good story. Interestingly, these elements are evident in the story of the Magi. Consider the following...

The Magi wanted something. For several weeks, they traveled in search of a newborn Jewish king. They were highly motivated to find this king.

The Magi envisioned a climatic scene. Before leaving on their journey, the Magi packed their bags with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They anticipated finding this child and when they did, they bowed down and worshiped him.

The Magi had an inciting incident. Events in the sky convinced the Magi that the Jews had a new born king. The unique appearance of a star compelled them to act. Staying was not an option. They had to go.

The Gospel of Jesus contains the elements utilized by modern writers and movie makers to create compelling stories. This is no surprise, because the Gospel is the story of all stories.

What story do you want to live in 2010?

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