From Story to Character
Remember last week?
The whole business of not losing the plot,
of finding ourselves immersed in a new story,
the story of Jesus?
Well, this week Paul moves from story to life.
From finding the plot anew, to living it.
Philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre once wrote,
I can only answer the question “What am I to do?”
if I can answer the prior question
“Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?”
Our deepest stories provide us with a narrative
out of which we live our lives,
together with the character traits that
will move this narrative forward.
If the story is one in which progress is identified
with unceasing economic growth
resulting in the good life of consumer choice
and the accumulation of economic goods,
then it wouldn’t be surprising that such a story
produces people who are self-centred,
acquisitive, greedy, autonomous, and insatiable.
That insatiability would be permeate all of life;
from stock portfolios to real estate to sexual conquest.
But what if the story was,
Christ has died
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.
If that is the story of our life,
then how does that shape our daily living,
and more deeply,
how does that form our character?
What kind of people are we called to be
if this is the story that grounds and directs our life?
Well, says Paul, such a story
would rule out certain kinds of things
(most of which look surprising like
the consumptive lifestyle I just mentioned),
and engender another sort of character,
a character that manifests things like:
These virtues would permeate our lives so that
“whatever you do, in word or deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3.17)
I know, it all sounds great.
But there is nothing easy about any of this.
While some of us are blessed with some of these virtues,
as something that comes somehow ‘naturally’,
none of us is blessed with them all,
and none of us can grow into such virtues without work.
And if these are virtues shaped by the story of Jesus,
then dwelling deeply in his story,
allowing “the Word of Christ to dwell in you richly,” (Col. 3.16)
is surely indispensable.
That’s why we gather on Tuesday mornings.
To dwell in the story of Jesus
and be nurtured in the virtues that carry that story forward.
This week we engage in the ministry of gratitude
through our once a semester offering.
Andrew Federle will be preaching and presiding.
Joyce Mak will be serving us at the table.
Mark Novak is crafting our prayers.
Beth Carlson-Malena has curated the service.
Deb and the bandhood go folk-rock with some Blue Rodeo and “Gospel Bob” Dylan.
Wine Before Breakfast (Colossians 3.5-17)
Tuesday, April 4 @ 7.22am
Wycliffe College Chapel.
Looking forward to seeing you this week.