Today, June 11, 2017 we started a short series about the importance of storytelling. Although not one of the top 10, Psalm 78: 1-8 gives us a commandment from God about how we should tell our children and grandchildren about the truth of God’s word so that they will be equipped to face life and to understand that they are the children of God. It is clearly our responsibility and not the responsibility of institutions to do this for each generation.
“Listen, dear friends, to God’s Truth, and pay attention to what I say. I am going to use wise sayings. I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths, stories we heard from our Fathers, counsel we learned at our mother’s knee. We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation – about the Lord’s power and the marvelous things He has done. He gave laws to the people of Israel and commandments to the descendants of Jacob, then commanded our parents to teach it to their children so that the next generation might learn them and in turn should tell their children so they will never forget the works of God but keep His commandments to the letter. They will not be like their ancestors, a rebellious and disobedient people, whose trust in God was never firm and who did not remain faithful to Him.”
Psalm 78 is one of about a dozen Psalms that are attributed to someone named Asaph who was either the author or the transcriber of David’s words. The Bible is a collection of stories using the oral tradition, and guided by the Holy Spirit. The “oral tradition” is a way to teach a lesson by using traditional symbols from a culture usually before written language is available, and not necessarily to record an historic event. Collecting “oral history” is what we do today by putting together a collection of stories from the oral tradition and also recording historical events by interviewing people and recording their conversations on paper, audio, and video. When Jesus left this earth he left for us the Holy Spirit as a comforter and teacher.
It is He, the Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity), who helps us understand the scriptures and to have an ability to teach others about God’s Word. We teach others in two ways (1) with words of instruction, and (2) by our example. Truthfully, if we don’t teach with words (some of us are better at it than others), we always teach by example. One of the best ways to teach by example is to do what we love in front of children. If we like to fix things, if we like to garden, whatever it is we love to do we should do these things (not to explicitly teach) so that children can see our love for doing something. It could be that one day they will want to do this too.
I would encourage each of us to be proactive in teaching our children, grandchildren, and others around us. What we teach is so important and it may not occur to them to ask us certain questions until after we are gone and it is too late. Fred Rogers (from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood) talks about all of this and he actually puts it on a different level for us, and in a way that might not naturally occur to us. Today we watched a 15 minute interview of him by Charlie Rose from 1994, and next week we will watch Charlie Rose interview him again in 1997. Fred Rogers is teaching us in these interviews.