What is Your Favorite Bible Story?

Dear Caroline,

When I decided to answer your question first, it was because I thought it would be easier than the others. It turns out to be one of the most difficult. There are so many Bible stories I love, it is hard to pick just one as a favorite. But I’m going to try.

My favorite Bible stories all have the same message. I know you have been coming to church all your life, so I bet you have sung this song a lot:

Jesus loves me,
This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.

The Bible is where I first read about how much God loves me, and some of my favorite stories are about that love, and all the things God has done to show love for the world.

God loves the world, so God called Abraham and Sarah, who were too old to have children, and tells them they will have more children than the grains of sand on the beach or the stars in the sky. When Sarah hears it, she laughs. I think she laughed because it was too wonderful for her to imagine God could love her that much. Could God’s love be that great, as great as the stars? She did have a son, and they named him Isaac, which means, “Son of Laughter.”

I love that story. But it is not my favorite.

God loves the world, so when the people ask for a king, God sends the prophet Samuel to Jesse’s house to find the king in the tiny town of Bethlehem, out in the country. Jesse had eight sons, and God told Samuel one of those sons would be the king. So each one of them comes and stands in front of Samuel, and each time Samuel thinks,”This is the one.” But God keeps saying to Samuel, “Don’t pay attention to what they look like on the outside, how big and strong they are. People may look at that sort of thing, but I look at a person’s heart.” Seven sons stand in front of Samuel, and God picks none of them. When Samuel asks where the eighth son is, Jesse has to send for him in the fields, tending the sheep. “This is the one,” says God, and that little boy David would be the greatest king of all.

I love that story. But it is not my favorite.

God loves the world, so on a dark night in that same little town of Bethlehem a baby was born to a little girl named Mary. Shepherds came to visit him, and angels sang peace on earth, and Jesus shared his room with cows and donkeys and sheep. Imagine that! God came to be with us.

I love that story. But it is not my favorite.

Caroline, before i tell you my favorite story, I want you to remember the best meal you ever had. Who was with you? What did you eat? What did you talk about?

For me, one of the best meals I ever ate happened last summer. I went to a restaurant in San Francisco that serves food from Peru. Kim, Caleb, and Chandler were there, two of my brothers, Rory and Jonathan, our friend Caesar, and your dad. We talked about everything – the half marathon race we finished that morning, our families, the food we were eating, the problems in the world, all the ideas we had for helping the world, our dreams for the future – on and on we talked and ate. The whole meal took two hours. We laughed and laughed, we discussed serious things and funny things. Your dad talked about how much he loves you and your sister, how proud he was of both of you.

As we were leaving, I had a feeling that we were not alone. I think Jesus was there at that table with us, in the joy and love we were sharing with one another. I think he is always with us at table. Sometimes we see him more clearly than others.

When Jesus died on the cross, his friends were sad, and they thought they would never see him again, that all his teachings would die with him. Two of his friends were walking back to their home in a town called Emmaus. They were so sad they hardly noticed when a stranger came walking alongside them. They began talking with one another, and the stranger starts telling Bible stories. Maybe he told them about old Abraham and Sarah and their Son of Laughter. Or perhaps he talked about David, the little boy who became a mighty king. The way he talks about God’s love is so comforting, they ask him to stay the night. And when they sit down at the table for supper, the stranger takes the bread, says a blessing, and breaks it. An amazing thing happens right then – they recognize that the stranger is Jesus, and he disappears.

That is my favorite Bible story. I love it because it reminds me that every time we eat the bread and drink from the cup together – whether it is in church during the Lord’s Supper, or in our homes with our families, or in a Peruvian restaurant in San Francisco – Jesus is there. He is there because he loves us. And he wants us to love one another.

After that favorite meal in San Francisco, my love for my family and friends was stronger. And every time we eat the meal at church, which is also one of my favorites, my love for all the people in the church is stronger. Loving God and loving one another is the most important thing we can ever do, Caroline, and that’s why this story of love is my favorite.

What is your favorite Bible story? I would love to hear it, not just from you, but from everyone listening in to this letter.

May you know God’s supporting love, not only at the table, but everywhere you go.

Peace,
Pastor Chris

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4 thoughts on “What is Your Favorite Bible Story?

  1. Chris,

    Funny thing is I remember that dinner in San Francisco the same way. Thank you for this. It brought me overwhelming joy to read it

  2. Chris,
    What a beautiful and powerful description of how a shared table can become an arena for God’s love. I am grateful for these words and already looking forward to more questions and answers. (And since you used all the good love stories, my favorite story is Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers.) thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Thank you for answering our children’s questions! I am very thankful we serve a church that values our children and encourages their questions. You are an awesome Pastor to work with…I don’t say that enough! One of my favorite stories is of Moses being placed in a basket and the women in his life loving and caring for him. One reason it is a favorite is it is my earliest memory of a story i learned in Sunday School .

  4. Like you, I have several favorite stories. And, as my life circumstances have changed, so have the favorites in my life. But, one that I have always loved, is the story of the children coming to Jesus. “Let the children come to me” has always been so important to me. Not just my children but all the children in our church family and in the world. They are his future and we should not discount them. But, we as adults are still “children” of God. He is just there waiting for us to come to him.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. You truly do make the children feel they are a part of the congregation.

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