Stories define us, in many ways, telling us who we are, giving us history and rootedness, helping us know about our people.
Scripture is (broadly speaking) telling our story - reminding us who we are and to Whom we belong. It is way bad that some folk use scripture as if it were the answers in the back of the algebra text book (do they do that any more?) [Long ago, in a school system far away . . . . the algebra textbooks had, in the back, the answers to the odd numbered problems.]
Stories remind us, recall the great events of life, and the tragedies, as well. They help us know how to act, give us a frame of reference. They help us remember and recall the past but also live into the future.
But there may be many stories for each of us. Which ones we listen to makes a big difference.
I have been struggling with depression and many demons. All the 'not good enough' tales, the 'just work harder and move faster' sagas, the 'you must earn it - you're not worth it' stories. Sometimes I listen. Bad move.
Recently, I was asked to be part of a panel discussion about welcoming and affirming religious non-profits (of the sort for which I work). (Part of our small-time community effort to stand against the Exodus conference going on nearby.)
My part was to tell the story of the last seven or so years of my life. Recalling some of the details, the twists and turns, the ups and downs, the sadness, grief, and joy of it all. Telling my story makes it real again - the grace and the details that remind me how many folk gave support and love, how Love overcame fear, how surrender and trusting were the only avenues that made sense.
I need that trust, grace, surrender, Love, support . . . . . I need it still. And telling my story helps make them real again. It really is the Truth that sets us free.
I feel better now. Which story are you listening to?