Why Did The Story Turn That Way?

Oscar told a story during one of his talks yesterday.  You've probably heard the set-up:

A man working as a night watchman for a railroad gets a frantic call one night.  The bridge over the canyon cannot support the train that rapidly approaches.  As the man puts down the phone, he feels the vibration of the train in his feet and hears the distant whistle of trouble.  As fast as he can, he grabs his lamp runs out to the track ...
Have you heard this one?  How did the story end?

In every other version of this story I've heard, the man saves the day.  Either he sacrifices himself or sacrifices his son, his only Son, who he loves.  The train and its passengers survive.

But not in Oscar's story.  In Oscar's story, the train ends up in the canyon and the railroad sues the man for all he's worth.  Although the man gets off the hook, he's heard mumbling after the trial "I waved the lamp.  I waved the lamp."  But the lamp was not lit.

This twist carries a lot of power.  We're used to sacrifice, being asked to sacrifice.  In the American, evangelical church, we view a lot through the lens of sacrifice.  But Oscar comes from another place and might have another lens.

Can you imagine doing your best, but your best isn't enough?

Over and over again, throughout the conference, Oscar told familiar stories but with different lenses.  The endings were harder, less optimistic, but not hopeless.  They may have even reflected a biblical reality more clearly.

This is one of the reasons we need to read the Bible in multi-ethnic community.

Have you ever benefitted from reading the Bible with people who come to it with different lenses?

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