Tag Archives: story

The Great Librarian

I still remember story time at the library when I was a little girl. We would all gather round the librarian. She would sit on a small stool, and we would sit on little pieces of carpet all around her. She would read a story, and we would look at the pictures. She read the page and held the book up so we could all look at the picture, and then the page would turn, and then there was more of the story. As she read, it seemed like the room fell away, the children around me fell away, even the librarian fell away, and I was falling into the story. All I could see and feel and hear was the story. The book closing was an abrupt end to that little adventure in storyland.

Stories have the ability to draw us in, to carry us on. Stories that are real, that tell our history, are the most powerful stories. They remind us who we have been and who we are and who we can be. Refugees coming to this country hold on to stories carefully. A person who was well respected and established in their home country, suddenly becomes a nobody in a new country. They are displaced, disheartened, deprived of the ability to easily communicate. They often live in poverty. Stories are what hold them together, even when they are disregarded or treated with disrespect. They hold on carefully to the story of who they have been, who they are and who they can be.

This Sunday we’ll be talking about the power of the gospel story, particularly the gospel story told by Luke, the beloved physician. Take time to read Luke chapter 1 before you come to church. What adventure is beginning with this chapter? What does it say about who you have been, who you are and who you can be? I can’t wait to fall into the story and find out!

This week’s prayer: God, you are the Great Librarian, the Keeper of so many books, the Reader who tells the story we most need to hear. Draw us in to your story this week.

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The specialist in family drama

We all know Joseph, the guy with the coat and the big dreams. And we know about his brothers, the ones who hated their kid brother enough to throw him into a pit and then sell him as a slave to Egypt. They topped their violent act with lies and bloody fabric-ations.

It seems easy to see what went wrong in that story from Genesis 37. But as with so many stories in scripture, and in our lives, there is more to the story than meets the eye.

I invite you to come to church this Sunday with a story of your own in mind. Bring a story of a broken relationship; it doesn’t matter if that relationship has been healed or not. I can think of a number of broken relationships I’ve had, with friends or family members or ex-family members.

Part of being a Christian involves looking for God in the stories of our lives. Where is God working? Where are we turning away from God? God gives us eyes to see the grace in even the most painful of stories. Sometimes it takes a year or a decade or a lifetime to see clearly. Graceful stories are rarely simple stories, with one hero and one victim, one cause and one effect, one right and one wrong.

God can take the most messy family drama, with a cast of twelve brothers and one sister and one father and four mothers and a pharaoh, spread it over two countries and twenty years, throw in some hatred, deceit and vengeance…God can take even this story and find an ending which has some grace in it.

Maybe this Sunday we’ll find some of that in our own stories.

God, you’re a specialist in family dramas, in broken relationships of all kinds. Help us this week to be open to hearing old stories told in new ways.

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Chaos theory, Christmas and your family

Are you going to a family gathering this year? If you are, you can probably predict what is going to happen. After all, you’ve known some of those people your whole life. When we don’t like what happens, we can groan on our way to a reunion, “It’s the same people doing the same things….the same topics, the same type of jokes, the same relationships.”

And then something unpredicted happens. Your Uncle Jake, who is always argumentative and sarcastic, begins his annual tirade with, “The snow this morning was so beautiful, it actually brought tears to my eyes.” What happens next? Who knows! Or your sister Denise, who is habitually negative and critical of everyone’s children, shocks a frazzled mother by offering to read a cranky child a book, and ends up spending an hour playing one-on-one. What happens next? Who knows!

We can’t say exactly what made Uncle Jake or Denise veer off their regular trajectory. Maybe Uncle Jake’s neighbour had a heart attack last week, and Jake went to visit him in the hospital, and something the neighbour said about the snow stuck in Jake’s mind. This morning he looked out the window, and thought of his neighbour, and suddenly he saw the snow in a new way. Maybe Denise had a dream in the night about her grandmother and how she always made Denise feel loved. She had the vivid dream because she ate dill pickle chips before she went to bed. In any event, Denise may not even remember the dream in the morning but the child’s neediness hits her differently that day, and instead of a critical remark, she kneels down and looks into a little someone’s eyes.

The smallest tiniest things can change our patterns of behaviour. Uncle Jake and Denise, by doing something different may or may not change something in that family gathering…it’s hard to say what will happen. With so many people in one room, how will one small change affect the group? It seems impossible to predict, it’s chaotic. Who knows what will happen?

God has a theory. God can see how the smallest acts of love and kindness, as gentle as the breeze from a butterfly’s wings, can change the course of history in beautiful and maybe even predictable ways. One seven pound baby kicking away in his mother’s womb, waiting to be born. There are thousands, millions of babies born…but this one…this one….

God, open my eyes to see your love breaking out through the tiniest of cracks, in my family, in me. When I am with my family this Christmas, let me be the change I wish to see. You can take it from there.

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