Family communion, 6/15/17: The Same Story, Again and Again and Again

Our oldest child’s go-to Bible story now is the healing of the paralytic– the man whose friends loved him so dearly they wouldn’t let a roof keep them from bringing him to Jesus. I find we’re reading the same story again. And again. And again.

At first it bothered me that we were reading this story every week. I’ll ask A. which story he wants as we’re preparing for communion, hoping for him to say, “The one where David kills Goliath” or “The one where Peter walks on the water with Jesus.” But lately his response has always been, “The one with the man going through the roof!”

With so many other stories to choose from, couldn’t we have a little variety? And shouldn’t our boys be seeing more of the sweep of God’s story, or a fuller picture of Christ’s teachings, parables, healings, miracles?

But then it occurred to me: what a blessing it is to dig a little deeper, week after week, into the same story with my boys.

They’re receiving an early lesson in plumbing the depths of Scripture for new truths. They’re starting to have the same kind of “a-ha” moments whenever we read a story we think we’re totally familiar with, only to discover there’s some startling new detail or association or connection that was hiding in plain sight the whole time.

It’s almost like there are truer truths when you take the time to go back to the same story over and over, revisiting characters like they’re old friends and meditating and chewing on what these snippets from their lives have to offer us. For example, last night we talked about how this story emphasizes Jesus’ dual roles as both a great teacher and a powerful healer. We chatted (for just 15 or 20 seconds) about how important it is to know not only the things Jesus said, but also the things He did. And that God is just as concerned with what we say and do, too.

Another fun benefit of re-reading the same story is that A. is able to finish the story now:

Me: And the man got up on his…

A: Feet!

Me: And he began to…

A: Walk!

Me: And he picked up his…

A: Mat!

Me: And he went…

A: Home!

Me: And he started praising…

A: God!

Me: And everyone who saw started praising…

A: God! Hallelujah, hallelujah!

His excitement is infectious. And I realized the rhythm of the story, the call and response of the man’s healing and the people’s praise, is being written into A’s heart. This is a good thing.

I wasn’t expecting these times– the reading itself, and the act of re-reading week after week– to be my own little devotional time, but it’s quickly becoming just that.

Couched in our family communion service as it is, it also helps us as we retell the story of Jesus and the disciples sharing the Last Supper week after week. These details, too, are becoming more and more familiar as our boys help us tell the story each Thursday night.

Even the actions are becoming familiar. Now A. wants to help me break the bread every week, and L. wants to be the one to anoint us with oil. Receiving oil and a prayer from a 2-year-old is a blessing I wish everyone could experience… again and again and again.

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