“Do not let us speak of darker days, rather let us speak of sterner days.
These are not dark days, these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived;
and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations,
to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.”
Prime Minister of Great Britain
This quote comes from an address to Harrow School in October of 1941 during World War II. The school had written a new verse for their school song as a tribute to Churchill, but the lyrics didn’t sit well with him, so he addressed it. Through his word choice, Churchill spoke into the heart of the nation and sent out a call to defiant inner resolve. He reminded the people of Great Britain that though the days might have felt dark, they had the capacity to overcome. That’s the power of words. They can define a movement. They can shape a society. But what of story?
“That’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination.
We instill hope again and again and again.”
There’s a notion of romance about this quote, one that gives the storyteller a sense they can, through their tales, invoke a revolution of hope. The fact that it’s a quote by one of history’s most prolific and redemptive storytellers, Walt Disney, adds all the more weight.
Both of these are solid examples of wordsmiths and storytellers, but there is no storyteller as powerful and transformative as Jesus Christ. In fact, there’s a brilliant passage about Jesus’ storytelling found in Matthew 13:10-17 (MSG). It comes after he had shared the parable of the scattered seed…
“The disciples came up and asked, “Why do you tell stories?” Jesus replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight…”
What a powerful motivation for telling stories! And what a responsibility. I think as children of God, this is the kind of storyteller, the kind of wordsmith that we should aspire and graft to be—one who nudges the listener, the reader to readiness for Kingdom insight.
So if you’re passionate about words and story, let me extend an invitation to you to join us at the WCC Writers Co-Lab “Wordsmiths & Storytellers”. There we will hear stories on writer’s block, harnessing the imagination and we’ll get the inside scoop on the world of publishing from our amazing panel.
We can’t wait to meet you!
Writers Co-Lab Host