Thursday, February 28, 2008

ARTICLE: The Importance of Story

Now available in the current issue of The Orthodox Observer, p. 20

By Heather Zydek

I wish I could say that it was the Bible or the lives of the saints alone that brought me to the Christian faith and, later, to the Orthodox Church.

Instead, like many of us born after the advent of television, my faith as a Christian was inspired by an amalgam of impressions from weekly Sunday School lessons, stories about death from my mother’s childhood, annual viewings of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments and Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth, and frequent readings of Myths and Mythology by Anthony Horowitz, a vividly illustrated book I received as an eight-year-old.

The Sunday School lessons made me familiar with the stories of the Bible and the mysterious person of Jesus Christ. The stories of my mother’s biological father’s and step-father’s untimely deaths put subjects like dying and the afterlife on my radar at a very young age.

The classic Bible films brought to life the Sunday School lessons that were appealing but abstract to me as a child. If you’re wondering how the book of mythology fit into the picture of my early faith, you may have to think outside of the Judeo-Christian box for a moment. It’s true that not once is Jesus, the Holy Trinity, or the Church mentioned in this secular book.

It contains tales of pagan gods and pre-Christian myths. But the book, and others like it, nudged me a little closer to the idea that this life is just one part of a larger story humans have been trying to understand since the dawn of time; it helped me look beyond my small suburban worldview and made me thirsty for a deeper meaning, for universal Truth.

No one can deny the sway of all forms of story, whether printed, recited, or projected on the screen. God knows His children learn best through story; that’s probably why Jesus used entertaining stories (parables) to convey timeless truths.


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