Wandering But Not Lost

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Power of Stories

I've been thinking alot about the power of personal stories this week. Partially because the sermon this past Sunday dealt with that topic and because of other events that happened throughout the week. As part of the sermon, a friend got up and shared about how he began to encounter God. His pursuit of God took place in the same school that my daughter now attends. It was fun to watch her "translate" details of his story to her friends. Hearing his story again, reminded me of my own early pursuit of Jesus and how I was drawn to Christ through the stories of my friends. I was not going to be swayed by connecting logical dots from A to B to C, but I was moved by seeing and hearing the experiences of other.

Later on Sunday I got the chance to hear the testimonies of children who wish to receive communion. I love to hear kids talk about faith. It brings me out of the intellectual, theological, postmodern bubble that I like to live in, and makes me think of ways to ask good questions, and to be a good listener. One of the kids in my small group was my own youngest daughter. It was very fun to hear her describe stories that have impacted her and moved her towards Christ.

Sunday evening, our small group got together and we spent the night sharing what has been going on in our lives and what the near future holds. It was amazing the amount of flux and transition my friends are in. Job changes, moving changes, stage of life changes, kid changes...change, change, change. I know it is constant, yet for that evening, I felt like I was not alone. I felt like I had partners in the journey. I felt like I was with others who understood. Not a lot of advice was shared...we sat in each other's stories and that was really, really, good.

It strikes me that community is about shared lives, shared stories. It also strikes me that we need to do a better job of hearing the stories of new comers and strangers. We need to become master story tellers and story facilitators. Church in this age is about honoring each other's stories and allowing God to use our stories to make himself know and for us to see him at work. We need to build community in such a way so that people can easily choose into the depth of story telling they want to do. For some, not being forced to share anything would build a sense of comfort and intimacy. For others, they aren't going to feel at home until they have found a partner to share stories with. Others will make their stories more public and we will appreciate them and learn from them.

I am thankful for the stories that have brought me where I am today. I am thankful for the stories that God is continuing to develop, and illustrate, and share with me. May you find stories that move you closer to God!



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