He replied, “God has granted you to know the meaning of these parables, for they tell a great deal about the Kingdom of God.” Luke 8:10
In November 1969, a minor miracle occurred on the American Public Broadcasting Service when Sesame Street debuted. Creators Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett teamed up with puppeteer Jim Henson and a host of producers and writers to create a new type of children’s television show with educational goals and a curriculum. Henson’s “Muppets,” as they are called, interact with each other and with human actors to convey learning concepts that prepare very young children for school—particularly children from low-income families. Techniques such as song, repetition, and humor were used, and almost immediately, educators and social scientists began weighing in on what methods would improve the children’s educational experience. Social competence, tolerance of diversity, and nonaggressive ways of resolving conflict were introduced. And later, some real-life crises like the September 11th terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina were addressed. It was clear to the creators, researchers, critics, and the children themselves that the story lines on Sesame Street gained kids’ attention and taught them not just how to learn, but how to cope with and solve life issues.
Jesus knew the telling of stories was an effective way to teach people about the kingdom of God. A “parable” is described as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” In Matthew 13:11-15, Jesus explained to the disciples that they had been given special understanding of the Word of the Lord. But, as was prophesied in the 6th chapter of Isaiah, the average people of the time had closed their ears and no longer listened to the Lord’s warnings. So when Jesus went to explain the kingdom of God to the people, He used stories as examples of how God’s kingdom worked. A lamp as the Light of the World; a kind Samaritan showing caring for another; weeds in the wheat crop; the pearl of great price were all illustrations of God’s work on earth.
When I speak in public about God’s miraculous work in my own life, I always start with a story and I use stories throughout my talks. Like the producers of Sesame Street—and Jesus—have shown, the stories are what get a point across best.
Story-Teller God, shine through us in the stories we tell. Amen
Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com MegCorrigan@comcast.net