Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Retelling the 'Old, Old Story' ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Retelling the 'Old, Old Story' ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

A few weeks ago I sat on the wide, soft sands of Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, with 2-year-old Matthew. The sun was so hot that I pulled a huge striped towel over my head like a tent. A few moments later, tiny fingers drew aside the flap of my tent, and a little voice said, "Can I come into your house?"

Matthew loved it under the towel. In the deep shade it almost felt like bedtime, and he asked for a story. So I told him about a hungry bunny scampering over the sand looking for carrots, and how Mr. Fluff found one pushing up out of the sand right in the middle of my house.

"Again," said Matthew. So the bunny scampered through the story again and found another tasty morsel. "Again," said Matthew. Then, wising up after a pause, "Again, please."

Matthew's mother, who had not been with us on the beach, e- mailed me a week later to say, "What's this about a house and a rabbit on the beach? Matthew keeps talking about that story."

Repetition has always been an essential part of child rearing, early lessons in school, and church liturgy. Just think of the Bible's book of Psalms, and how many times people are urged to remember what God has done for them. How often people are encouraged to praise the Lord, thank Him for His goodness to them, and express their feelings in joyful singing. And how often they are reminded that God's mercy endures forever. In Psalm 136, that phrase is repeated in all 26 verses.

One of my favorite hymns speaks poignantly of Jesus' love for all humankind and of the role of reiteration:

I love to tell the story,

'Tis pleasant to repeat

What seems, each time I tell it,

More wonderfully sweet.

The hymn goes on to make the point that even those who know the story well will be "hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest." They know good news when they hear it, and cannot too often receive "The message of salvation/ From God's own holy word ("Christian Science Hymnal," No. 414).

I think many would agree that the "old, old story" is worth hearing over and over again. …

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