“Hey Sue, do you remember the gal's name who Pecos Bill was trying to court?”
Bed's just been made, first cup of coffee for the day and crisped egg on white mountain bread toast is in the works and I get,
“Why are you thinking about that?”
Don't you just love getting the question instead of the answer?
Well..... So she is picking up the tablet to cure this “question ailment” I have and finds that the young cowgirl's name was “Slue-foot Sue”.
So we begin to speculate on the origin of the tall tale and a recalling of all the stories of American folk lore we were exposed to in school, Johnny Appleseed, Big Joe Henry, Paul Bunyan, Casey Jones and others.
The origins of these characters and their escapades were floating around very early on in our history, told and retold, written down finally and still with us today.
When my grandson was just very little, four or five or so, it would be “Time for your nap.” and he would walk down to our bedroom with his grandmother and they'd lay down together. And it started out, “Well one day Peter and Gary wanted to go fishing.” and without any planning my wife would just make up a story about the adventures of Peter and Gary, a couple of young boys growing up. Never knew what was going to come out but every day a new story and my grandson would listen then fall asleep.
A couple things come to mind.
One is of a time, be it long ago, or today, so maybe not so much a time, but the way time is used. In the early days of this country for instance, for most it was hard work during the day a meal and then what.?
A cowboy might come in from watch and tell a tall tale to his buddies he dreamed up in the quiet of tending cattle. A grandfather in Appalachia might instruct a grandson
in playing the fiddle, a mother her daughter the dulcimer. There might be conversation about great great-grandma, of days gone by and the ways things were different then.
It was personal, face to face and unhurried. Times like that were the way. Words spoken made an impression and were remembered, family members knew each other... knew... They looked to each first and not “things” for answers to questions, sharing of thoughts and relationship.
The other thought is that that time and way is scriptural.
I can picture Avraham in the evening dark, family and his people at camp fires, twigs snapping and crackling, embers floating up. The stars are many above them, soft talk about the day or tomorrow and he starts with the account about his first encounter with Jehovah God and how that had lead to where they were now and of the promises that had been made. He would have talked about the latest things he had experienced day to day since then, in which he saw God's hand at work and remind all to give Him thanks. Children would have listened attentively many times knowing the very next word that Avraham, their father, would speak because as time went on the same stories would be told and new ones added. They would grow up to repeat them and add theirs to them as they too walked with the God of their father Avraham, Yitz'chak to his and Ya 'akov to his, to Moses and beyond.
Stories work. They serve a purpose in the present and are remembered, to be re-spoken again and again, not just for enjoyment but also for a sense of who we are and for edification. I believe God made us to be face to face, voice to voice, ear to ear, with each other and with Him. It's how we learn the best.
Pesach is upon us and it is a time of coming together and retelling the story which took place in Egypt so long ago and which has been brought to fuller and fuller meaning since then for all people.
We know it today because the Israelites were obedient to Yahweh's instructions to the people of old:
“When you come to the land which ADONAI will give you, as He has promised, you are the observe this ceremony.
When your children ask you, 'What do you mean by this ceremony?'
'It is the sacrifice of ADONAI's Pesach, because [ADONAI] passed over the houses of the people of Isra'el in Egypt, when He killed the Egyptians but spared our houses...'” Exodus 12:25-27 CJB.
Concerning the sights and sounds they experienced at Horev they were to:
“...make them known to your children and grandchildren...” Deuteronomy 4:9 CJB.
And concerning the Words given at Horev they were to:
“...teach them carefully to your children.” Deuteronomy 6:7 CJB.
And we have the record and the instructions because they did.
What a wonderful story to be the keepers of and “imparters” of. And how satisfying to hear it retold from the mouths of the young ones back to us, providing the word, finishing the sentence we start because they know it so well.
Celebrate the Passover. Read the Words. Speak them to one another. Praise the God of Salvation one and all!
Father, thank You so much for Your living story some of which we know from the keepers before us, some of which we learn personally and become a part of now in the living of our lives with You and the remainder to be a part of when You do all that You have promised and bring the epic to completion and take us with You into eternity.
Father, may all else fail but not our ability to retell what You have told and if You would,
“Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above, of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. Tell me the story simply, as to a little child, For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.
Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in, that wonderful redemption, God's remedy for sin. Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon; The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.
Tell me the story softly, with earnest tones and grave; Remember I'm the sinner Whom Jesus came to save. Tell me the story always , If You would really be, in any time of trouble, a comforter to me.
Tell me the same old story, when You have cause to fear that this world's empty glory is costing me too dear. Yes, and when that world's glory is dawning on my soul, tell me the old old story: Christ Jesus makes thee whole.
Tell me the old old story... of Jesus and His love.”
In Yeshua's name we pray,
May God's love be in us all.
Tell Me the Old Old Story
Katherine Hankey (1866)