Sunday, July 26, 2015

Stories Can Change Your Life

Although Mr. Spock was a favorite character
of mine growing up, he is not a good model for
emotional health.
There's a lot going on in the world, much of it tragic.

It can be overwhelming if we let all of it touch our hearts.

But it can be just as damaging if we let none of it seep through.  The easiest thing is to feel nothing which then requires me to change nothing about myself.

Do I really want to become an unfeeling robot?

Simon and Garfunkel address this through their song, "I Am a Rock."

They sing:
Don't talk of love,
But I've heard the words before;
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
As the song unfolds, we see a hurting person that has rejected all others in order to deal with the pain and avoid any future difficulties.

The song becomes an ironic reminder for us not to become islands even as we sing about them.

When tragedy occurs, it is easier for us to deal with the facts and figures.  If we hear the numbers of people dislocated by an earthquake or a hurricane, it can be dismissed.  But when we hear the story of a widowed grandmother caring for her two grandchildren who have all been left homeless, we seek to act if only to make a donation.

This is the power of narrative.  When we hear stories, we engage with the people in need in ways that may escape us otherwise.  When we respond, their story becomes our story.  This is Christianity in a nutshell as God engages with humankind by entering our story as Jesus of Nazareth.

This week's lectionary will continue with the Old Testament in 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13 as we see the prophet Nathan exposing the sin of King David.  He does it in a way that engages David - through the power of story.  Because of Nathan's narrative, David is able to see his own sin clearly and repent.

This Sunday, I hope you'll let God's story break through any hardness you may have developed!

In Christ,


"I Am a Rock" lyrics written by Paul Simon, (c) Eclectic Music, Paul Simon Music 
Picture by Desilu Productions/NBC Television (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

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