Martin Buber liked to tell the story of a grandfather who was paralyzed. One day one of the man’s grandchildren asked him to tell about an incident in the life of his teacher, the great Baal Shem. So the grandfather began telling how Baal SHem, when he was at prayer, used to leap about and dance. The more into the story the old man got, the more he became Baal Shem until he stood up from his wheelchair and, to show how the master had done it, began leaping and dancing. From that moement the grandfather was cured.
Buber went on to say: “That’s the way to tell as story.” You become what you tell.
Martin Buber, in the preface to his Tales af the Hasidim: The Early Masters as quoted in Leonard Sweet, Out of the Question… Into the Mystery, p.84.
As Len Sweet illustrates so well in the chapter just cited, it’s so vitally important to ingest entire stories from the Bible, and not just memory verses. Lesson for those of us old enough to remember them fondly, never underestimate the value of the flannelgraph.