At one time, oral tradition, was the primary means of human communication. Oral tradition refers to more than just talking; it is a dynamic and highly diverse way of transmitting knowledge, art, and ideas.
Before the written word, stories were passed down orally from generation to generation. These stories provided the foundation and basis for community life. It’s what helped communities, and individuals, understand who they were and where they came from.
In many ways, we’ve moved away from oral tradition. But we all have stories. And our stories shape us. They tell us something about where we’ve come from and what has made us who we are today.
For me, the stories I know begin with my grandparents. On one side of my family, both grandparents were deaf. Granny taught at the Washington State School for the Deaf. And Grandpa, though barely literate himself, spent his life working as a printer (and following Braves baseball).
On the other side of the family, my grandparents were deeply committed to service. Grandpa was a Navy Combat Pilot (and also went on a mission to Antarctica to bring penguins back to the San Diego Zoo). And Grandma followed him station to station, including a stint in Japan.
These stories, their stories, have shaped me and have become part of who I am today. They are the stories my family retells around the campfire at Priest Lake or on the couch on Christmas morning as we sign the story of the reindeer landing on the roof in preparation for opening presents.
The stories of scripture do something similar when it comes to our faith. The Bible is full of stories that help us understand who we are and where we’ve come from.
On Sunday we begin a new series called Campfire Stories. Throughout the summer we’ll explore stories in scripture that you might have once heard in Sunday School, but perhaps never revisited as an adult. We’ll hear stories that are foundational to understanding who we are as believers, and how God has been and is at work in our world and our lives. And, for good measure, we’ll hear a few random stories too.
These are the stories that shape our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. They help us understand where we’ve been, but also help us imagine where we’re going.
I hope you’ll join us this summer. And maybe invite a friend.
Grace and peace,
P.S. We’ll explore these stories as part of First Look, Tuesdays at 1:30. All are welcome to join us, whether for a week or every week.