It’s the same old news…

by Helen Oh

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15)

While reflecting on this passage at the beginning of the semester, it occurred to me that all seeds ‘hear’ the good news of Jesus but the seed that falls in good soil ‘keeps on hearing’ the good news by retaining it and persevering. On this reflection, I prayed that God, in His kindness, will enable me to retain the scriptures and persevere through all that He sanctions in my life. Furthermore, I prayed that He would enable me to equip my students to do the same so that we could altogether spur each other on to be biblically and theologically mature leaders in the body of Christ.

One of the ways we have been able to retain scripture and inscribe it into our memories is by the way of storytelling. We have been following Christine Dillon’s method of storytelling to lead international students bible study. When I meet with my assistant leaders weekly to help them prepare for upcoming study, we read through particular narrative in Luke’s account of Jesus life, the parable of sowers, for example. After reading through the passage together about three times, we draw a storyboard that includes important details from the story. We then close the bible and try to tell the story by only referring to the details we can recall from our storyboard. When these students lead the bible study by sharing their learnt stories, I can catch glimpses of what it may have been like for the stories of Jesus to be passed down from generation to generation in cultures that value oral tradition. Not only that, by having to familiarise, remember and practise re-telling these gospel stories with my beautiful assistant leaders, we have been able to mature in our faith together by ‘keep hearing’ the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord!

One of these assistant leaders, Emily, learnt the story of sinful woman being forgiven by Jesus in Luke 7 and led our small group last week. In reflecting on how the study went, she said “I just couldn’t stop meditating on ‘those who have been forgiven much love much.’ Where does the forgiven debt go? It’s not just wiped away but Jesus had to bear the cost! When I realise that, the question goes from ‘Why should I love?’ to ‘How should I love?'”

Conversations like this reminds me that biblical and theological maturity doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to start learning the original Greek of the New Testament – although that helps. Rather, godly maturity begins with remembering the same old, yet indescribably amazing, good news that Jesus Christ is Lord. I’m thankful that we get to see God’s speech act of saving lives among us  every week. We pray God will work through our maturing process to ensure that more souls ‘keep hearing’ the good news and bring glory to Jesus.

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