Each time I walked this seashore seemed like the first time.
Today’s walk was one with purpose, for I’d heard that they were going to gather at the seas end, and I wanted to be there. There was something I wanted to share, something I had to share.
So I walked.
At one point I stopped and picked up a rock. I held it in my hand for how long, I had no idea. Could’ve been five minutes, could’ve been five years. After all, what was time here?
I shook my head, still amazed at the wonder of it all.
Looking out at the water, I threw the rock as far as I could. I watched the water splash as the rock went under, and it caused me to smile. My thoughts turned to him, walking on the seashore in Galilee, and the smile became a tear.
It wasn’t a tear of sorrow, but of joy. After all, there were no tears of sorrow here.
I looked to the sky and soaked in the warmth that covered my face, warmth that was not caused by the sun, for just as there was no sorrow here, there was also no need of light.
The presence of the Lord illuminated all there was to see, all there was to be.
I heard voices, and picked up the pace.
Though I’d seen the two men before, this was my first time to see them together. The crowd was small, which wasn’t unusual – all the crowds were small, unless we were gathered for the Master.
Paul was speaking, and Peter stood silently close by.
“I was with Barnabas.” Paul smiled. “We were at Lystra, preaching. There was a man in the crowd listening. He was crippled. But with each word that I spoke, I noticed his faith was increasing.” He paused and grinned, and for a moment he seemed to be lost in another place, another time. Finally, he looked back at us. “Where was I?” he asked.
Peter laughed. “In Lystra, preaching.” He turned to the crowd. “As if he ever did anything else.”
Peter’s remark drew laughter from everyone.
“Ah, yes,” Paul continued, “the man with increasing faith.”
He walked over to a woman sitting on the front row and knelt down close. “‘Stand up!’ I shouted at him.”
The woman jumped, although Paul didn’t seem to notice. He continued to stare at her, but this time when he spoke, his voice was a whisper. “He stood up.”
He looked at everyone in the group. “He had never walked before. That is, before the power of the risen Lord had touched him.” He looked down at the sand upon which he stood. “Of course, the people wanted to worship myself and Barnabas.”
Peter shook his head. “They always wanted to worship us.”
“Indeed,” said Paul. “But we told them of the one they should be worshipping.”
“The one true God,” said Peter.
“The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” continued Paul.
I was thinking of how it must have been back in those early days of the church.
Peter began to speak. He surveyed the faces before him, slowly looking at each individual in the crowd. “But I don’t think we’re the only one’s here who want to tell the story. As a matter of fact, we’d all like to share wouldn’t we?”
Shouts of “Hallelujah,” “Praise the Lord,” and “Amen” could be heard throughout.
“But there’s one here today ...” his survey continued. “… that feels he must share.”
And then in unison, Paul and Peter turned their eyes toward me.
There was a stillness that surrounded us that I’d never experienced before. It was as if all creation had stopped for this very moment.
And so I stood.
And I told my story.
A story of needs met and promises kept.
Of mercies sublime and grace divine.
Of everlasting love and the promise from above.
I told the story of Him.
I told the story of Jesus.
Of Jesus and His love …
I love to tell the story,
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
'Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.
I love to tell the story,
'Twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and his love.
“I Love to Tell the Story”
Text: Katherine Hankey, 1834-1911
Music: William G. Fischer, 1835-1912