David Johnson's Introduction

PACE Class - 18 June 17

From programs that we have had in the past, which some of you have taught, we know that much of what we have of the Bible existed as "oral tradition" long before the words were ever written down. In the case of the Old Testament, some of the stories were told for over a thousand years before they were written. In the case of the New Testament, the stories were spoken for at least 60 years before they were written.

So during those times, we had ONLY the oral tradition. We did not have a written account for decades or generations.

Now I want you to imagine: What would the Bible be like if somebody had not told the story of their father? What would the Bible be like, for example, if we did not have the book of Job in the Old Testament? What would your faith be like if you didn't know the story of Abraham and Isaac and "God will provide an offering" and the rest of that great story? How about the story in the New Testament of the man blind from birth? What if somebody had not told that story as an important part of "Faith of Our Fathers"?

We would not have much of the Bible if people did not tell stories, right? It was critical, essential, to our faith.

We have done a program like this for our mothers twice before, and I published those stories on our PACE web site. So this program will bring a symmetry to those times. But it does not bring a balance. Fathers bring extra baggage that mothers typically do not bring. Far more fathers than mothers leave their families, and unfortunately some fathers do significant damage, physically as well as emotionally. I suspect that most of us here have many good memories of our fathers, but probably some have very few. For some people, even to say “Our Father” is painful rather than sacred. I hope that those of us with good memories of the "Faith of Our Fathers" can provide a positive record that might help offset bad images of fathers.

I want you to think about your father. You have been thinking about him, if you plan to call him on the phone today. Or you are thinking about him, if your father is no longer with you.

You might be here, in class this morning, as a direct result of the faith of your father. How many of you would agree with that?

I would like you to tell the story of the faith of your father, or your grandfather, uncle, cousin, brother or any other man in your life who has a faith story you might be willing to share.

I want you to just speak out your stories to us, but I also think it would be interesting, if you are willing, to record those stories. If you don't want it recorded, I will not. I think it would be interesting for those people who are not here this morning, to read stories of the "Faith of Our Fathers". It is possible that the story you tell this morning of the faith of your father might be something that significantly helps someone else in their faith journey. Someone might be browsing our PACE web site and read your story. It may be your story that says to another, "Yeah, that's what my life is like, and that father affects who I am and what I do right now."

I hope you are willing to share your story with others, both here this morning and on our web site.

It is your father's story, but it is waiting for you to tell it.