Haven’t We Seen This Episode Already?

How is it that someone from a generation that expects to watch every movie countless times, knows entire television channels founded on reruns from the past and spends long week-ends watching NCIS and The Secret Life of the American Teen-Ager marathons followed by Heroes and Lost on DVD – how is it exactly that someone from this generation can come to a Bible class and say “This is going to be boring. I’ve already heard this story.”

And I’m not just talking teens.

We love hearing stories over and over. Every year of my childhood the annual broadcast of The Wizard of Oz was an event awaited with great anticipation. Remember the days when we would plan all year to watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Frosty the Snowman? Even now, we drag out our DVD’s of It’s a Wonderful Life to watch with the family in December. We love to hear stories again and again; it’s hard-wired into our DNA.

And it’s not just a holiday thing. I know every line of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and my children could quote from The Princess Bride like it was a catechism.

So what’s up with thinking we know all the Bible has to offer because we learned about Adam and Eve, Noah, or David and Goliath and memorized the twenty-third Psalm when we were in grade school? If you haven’t been back to those stories since you were seven, you’re missing something far more magical than George Bailey learning his life counts from an angel named Clarence.

My daughter has just about had it with the NCIS fans in our household. For the past year, it seems there isn’t a day of the week or a time of day when we can’t locate an episode. If someone should pop in and foolishly comment “Haven’t we seen this one?” they are promptly silence with pillows or tossed from the premises. If my daughter complains that we’re seeing too much of Gibbs or Tony, Ziva and Abby, I threaten to renew my obsession with Star Trek Next Generation (I have a thing for Worf) and she is quickly silenced. She copes by popping her 50 First Dates DVD into her lap top and watching it again.

So, can’t a rerun generation understand the value of revisiting Biblical stories and passages to gain new insight, to understand them as adults, to see them through eyes that have experienced more than we had when we read them the first time? A fresh encounter with Adam and Eve can help me see the difference between healthy relationships and unhealthy ones. Visiting Noah challenges me to think through questions about hearing from God, withstanding the derision of my peers, surviving cataclysmic events and staying true when the world has gone mad. Esther reminds me of the power of one. Gideon has me rethinking the need to outnumber my enemy. Daniel encourages me that God can use me even in my old age.

I laugh that TV execs no longer advertise reruns or repeats – now we have “Encore Episodes.” Maybe we should use that in church. “This week, the sermon will feature an encore presentation of the story of David.”

Think you’ve heard it all before? Open your Bible and take another look. Seriously, I am the queen of NCIS reruns but Jethro Gibbs won’t change my life. Understanding Jethro’s advice to Moses? That could actually have a lasting impact.

Maybe this week-end it’s time for a King David marathon or an encore presentation of the book of Judges or a highlight reel from Revelation? Throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave, settle into the recliner and take a second look or a third or a thirty-ninth and if someone stops by and asks, “Haven’t you read that book before?” just laugh and toss them a copy of their own. 

Encore! Encore! Oh yeah, baby, we’ve heard this story before and it gets better every single time.


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3 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    Lori,
    Thank you for continually standing with me in prayer. I have an urgent prayer request on arise 2 write.

    Blessings, andrea

  2. Dylan Charpentier says:

    awesome show 🙂 one of my favorites… oh and good word lol

  3. Thanks for dropping by, Dylan! Good question you had about the tree of life! Keep reading.

    Always in prayer, Andrea!