Short Stories

Hemingway took short story writing to a whole other level by writing a story in just six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Matthew 27.27-44

Reference: v.35a When they had crucified him… (NIV Bible)

Explore:  I was never a big reader when I was growing up.  I was a little slow in reading and so trying to take in a whole book at one time seemed rather daunting.  And so I got into short stories.  There is a definite art in constructing a short story.  You need to be able to get a whole plot and resolution in the space of one chapter.  Hemingway took it to a whole other level by writing a story in just six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Six words that speak volumes.

As I am reading through the last few chapters of Matthew I’ve picked up on five short but powerful words.  In the 137 verses from Jesus’ betrayal to resurrection it surprised me that the actual act of crucifixion – the piercing of his hands and nailing of his feet – took only 5 words.  If you were to see this passion story played out, there is always much more focus on the actual crucifixion than the writer of Matthew tells.  And yet these five words from verse 35 speak volumes too.  “When they had crucified him” speaks of the journey Jesus has been on and what he is still to endure.

Application:  In a previous ministry team I worked in we always joked that ‘No one complains about a short sermon’.  We often heard complaints that the sermon or the service went for too long, but never was it mentioned if something was delivered quickly.  Often we put so many words into our explanations of our faith that people miss the point.  Could we sum up our whole faith in just 5-6 words?  How about: “Jesus died. I’m forgiven. Love eternal.”  What would your six words be?

Prayer:  Lord, you gave us mouths to speak but often we allow that gift to override all other abilities you have given us.  May we speak less and love more. Amen.

What would your six words be?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.

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