We know that the shortest distance between two people is a story. Storytelling has been passed down through the ages as a way to educate, empower, and edify listeners of every age, culture, and educational level. Often something new is born in the sacred interaction between the listener and the teller. Indeed, as Jesus demonstrated in countless interactions, God is quite likely to show up in the space between us when we share our stories.
Hearing stories connects us to each other in ways that mere text cannot. The oral tradition of storytelling cuts across divides to expose a timeless truth, and promotes the work of personal reconciliation, formation, and transformation.
Year after year after year, the Church Calendar takes us through the Story of God in creation. These seasons help us to live in the Story of a loving, liberating, and life-giving God. Many of us have lived our lives circling around the Jesus story. Making this cycle via the Church Calendar has driven the story of God deep into our hearts. The Jesus Story lives in our bones. The Jesus Story is our story.
This worshiping community has something important and vital to say about who God in Christ is today that only we can communicate. We have something to say about who we are as the people of God in a world that desperately needs those signs of reconciling love. Our hope is that we will all share our stories.
This year, as part of our Becoming Beloved Community journey, we have begun focusing on Story-Sharing. Whereas storytelling is used to persuade and shape understanding, often one-way and perhaps even transactional, Story-Sharing is relational. It is telling your story and receiving the stories of others. It is about engagement and connection.
This summer we will begin digging deeper into our Vision Statement with a closer look at this portion: Inspired by our understanding of why we are Christian, why we are Episcopalian, why Redeemer matters to us. We invite you all to consider sharing your stories of faith, connection, and inspiration so we may better understand ourselves as a worshiping community. Throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall, we will offer space to record your story as well as welcome your written stories. Watch for our Story-Sharing prompts and consider contributing to shaping the story of this worshiping community.
Adapted from Introduction to the Beloved Community StorySharing Guidebook by H. Mallette Stephens, 2018.