The other day I connected with one of those Facebook links for a Biblegateway.com questionnaire--"What Old Testament character would you like to ask to dinner?" I was amused by some, intrigued by others. It did make me pause and ask the question of myself, since I teach Sunday school to primaries and spend most of my time retelling the Bible stories.
I grew up with Kathryn Voss's Bible story book, and every night my Dad would stand between our two rooms and read us a story about these heroes of old. As a child, they became so familiar it was as if they were members of our church.
A couple of years back, I felt a strong impression from the Lord -- that all we needed for life was there in the stories of those real-life people. They had the same joys, same trials, same longings that we do today -- They made the same mistakes and reaped the same consequences -- just in different costume.
I couldn't invite only one person to dinner -- and since I'd be the person inviting --I'd have a sit-down dinner with several of my Old and New Testament favorites.
I'd ask Sarah because I want to know how she kept up with a toddler at 90 years of age -- of course, she must have had a lot of nannies.
I'd invite Hagar to come, too-- maybe not sit her too close to Sarah. It seems as if she was the pawn in everybody else's game and then was banned in an effort to solve their problems. Life for her really wasn't fair. Once I wrote her into a skit for a ladies' class and ever since --her words "I have now seen the God who sees me" -- have impacted me.
Moses of course-- he's been a favorite of mine for years.
I'd want Hannah -- I identified with her as I prayed and begged for children.
The Shunamite woman -Wow what faith when she bravely said to Elijah's servant "it is well" after losing her only child. I like the fact she kept a room for God's prophet.
Enoch and Elijah -- I want to ask what it was like to just get "swooshed up" to Heaven by God. . . they didn't have to go through all the diseases and decisions of old age.
And also Elizabeth -- I wonder how mute Zechariah broke the news to her she was going to have a baby -- did he draw a picture or pantomime the words?
(seems to be a pattern here -- women and babies in old age -- see my next blog!)
I'd ask Peter -- he was so impulsive during those years as a young apostle -- kind of like me from time to time -- he then grew to be a rock!
I'd want Martha -- she knew how to throw a banquet -- seems like that's where she spent a lot of her time, doing kitchen prep -- what was it like to see her brother come out of the tomb? Of course she'd have to bring Lazarus.
Dorcas -- I've taught about her to ladies classes -- such a helpful doer in the early church -- she stitched and sewed. . .without a fancy sewing machine like mine.
When times have been especially difficult in my life, these silent characters of scripture have given me help and direction, though long dead.
Jesus would need to sit at the head of the table -- or would it be like his last big meal with his friends -- Him serving, washing feet, loving on us --reminding us to keep strong and connected to Him?
I believe God's still writing His stories -- He has us in this present time, at this place, for a specific reason. He'll not re-write a second Book, or "dub" us into one of the vintage stories -- but He's still doing the same thing with ordinary people living out their lives in a purposeful way as He did centuries ago -- drawing them into relationship -- redeeming their lives.