Enjoy the Story

by Heather Larson

A few years ago, I discovered that I had stopped reading fiction. Oh, not completely, I suppose, but all the voracious and fascinated fiction-reading of my childhood and young-adulthood had been replaced by books about how to do things (parenting, writing, art, cooking). How could I have changed so much, I wondered.

Last night I read a story by George MacDonald in which a character stops reading fiction (he had been a fan of Milton and Spenser). Then he stops reading history, and eventually reads only politics and current events. He finds that “he had been growing fonder of business” which the author tells us is a bad sign for a man like him. The story made me think of that year when I realized how little fiction I had read. I, too, had grown “fonder of business”—of figuring out how I could get things done well. Feeling very responsible as a parent of young children, I gave way to the American worship of productivity and the practical. After a time, it was only attractive to read or think about things that would make me feel competent, and books that I would do something with. 

So how did God rescue me from my growing narrowness? I made some efforts to change my patterns that year, but I was not very effective—when habits have become tastes they are hard to change. God’s rescue came from my desire to read to my children. I wanted to give them the joy I’d had in stories, and reading to children seemed a responsible, practical thing to do. I did it for the children’s sake, but God used it to work on my heart. Again and again, over the years since, I have found myself crying, worshiping, or convicted. I am more alive and open to the Spirit when I have set aside self and entered into a story.

How on earth does this relate to Advent? It relates because Christmas is, above all, a time to read and enjoy a particular story: the story of Jesus’ birth. On the other hand, it is also a time of year when over-allegiance to productivity becomes very tempting. There have been Decembers when I have spent more time reading my To-Do list than my Bible. In a “To-Do” mode, it is easy to start treating Bible reading itself as a kind of productivity: checking it off a list, or feeling the pressure to wring a daily application from a very familiar text. Jesus’ story is not like the parenting and cook books; it’s not a story to do something with. It is a story to be enjoyed. We need to open up the beginning of Matthew, and the beginning of Luke, and enter in like the child with a favorite storybook. We need to lay aside self, and let the story—and the Holy Spirit—do something to us.

6-9-19

Please join us in praying for Groots as they serve in Southeast Asia for the next six months.

Special Members Meeting: June 23
FOL members, join us for a special meeting after the service on Sunday, June 23rd in the auditorium. There will be a congregational vote related to the officers’ terms and the new fiscal year.

Family Center Coin Collection: June- July
Help support the Family Center! With your loose change, you can help us renovate the Family Center. Please see Emily after church to pick up a coin canister. Collection dates will be: 6/23; 6/30; 7/7; 7/14.

Annual Family Picnic: June 30
Please save the date for our 3rd annual Family Picnic on Sunday, June 30th. This year’s festivities will include an outside summer-themed potluck, shaved ice, and the official Teter Sabbatical sendoff. Please visit the info table to sign up to bring a dish.

Kidz Camp Save the Date: July 22-26
FOL Families, please mark your calendars! Our annual Kidz Camp (VBS) will be Monday, July 22 – Friday, July 26 from 6:30-8:30pm. Pre-register at the Info Table today!

Family Camp Registration Open
Family Camp will be September 20 – 22nd at Forest Home Campgrounds. Registration will be first come, first served, until August 25th, or until spaces are filled.

Youth Summer Weekly Events Begin

  • Youth Group: HS students meet Wednesdays from 7 – 9:30 pm at the FOL Training Center
  • Middle School youth meet Fridays from 7 – 9:00 pm at the Family Center.

6-2-19

Students from the FOL ESL class celebrating graduation.

5th Grade Transition Workshop: June 4
The Family Center will hold an afternoon class for students transitioning from 5th – 6th grade on Tuesday, June 4th at 4:00 pm. Sign up your 5th grader at the Info Table.

Webster Elementary Carnival: June 6
Webster Elementary, which many of our Family Center children attend, is having its annual carnival on Thursday, June 6th, from 2:30 – 5:30 pm. To volunteer, email beckyteter@folcov.org or sign up at the Info Table.

Special Members Meeting: June 23
FOL members, join us for a special meeting after the service on Sunday, June 23rd in the auditorium. There will be a congregational vote related to the officers’ terms and the new fiscal year.

Family Center Coin Collection: June- July
Help support the Family Center! With your loose change, you can help us renovate the Family Center. Please see Emily after church to pick up a coin canister. Collection dates will be: 6/23; 6/30; 7/7; 7/14.

Annual Family Picnic: June 30
Please save the date for our 3rd annual Family Picnic on Sunday, June 30th. This year’s festivities will also include the official Teter Sabbatical sendoff. More details about the picnic will be available in following weeks.

Kidz Camp Save the Date: July 22-26
FOL Families, please mark your calendars! Our annual Kidz Camp (VBS) will be Monday, July 22 – Friday, July 26 from 6:30-8:30 pm.