What is YOUR story?

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I love a great story! Last night on CBS news they reported on a single man in Melrose, MA who runs a small vacuum cleaner repair business. Not wanting to be alone for Thanksgiving, Scott McCauley put an ad in the local paper inviting up to 12 people to his home for Thanksgiving dinner. 33 years later, he prepares a meal at a local church, at his own expense, served to those who call him to reserve a place.

This year he will serve about 50 people.  Why does he do it? “I think each of us are called to brighten a corner where we are and if everybody took care of their neighbor in their own neighborhood we’d have a much better world,” he said. “Someday, maybe nobody will call me up and say they’re coming for Thanksgiving dinner, and I’ll be really happy that everybody’s got a place to go.”  (CBS News, 11/20/2018)

I hope you have someone to tell your stories tomorrow.  At many tables the conversation will start about the weather, football teams, and move on to personal tales. There will be heroic achievements and embarrassing remembrances of accidents, spills, and scrapes with the law. Most of them will have been told before and will be told again. It’s what we humans do. Our stories will make us laugh and cry, but they are more than entertaining.

Stories define and explain us.  The more of your story I know, the better I understand who you are.

Authentic stories, told without embellishment or editing, will reveal the triumphs and failures, the hits and misses, of life.  Being able to talk about who we were, who we are, and who we hope to become is part of growing emotionally and spiritually.  When a person is loved enough to know they can tell their whole story, they can find redemption, forgiveness, hope, and change that flows from the inside out. That is why 12 step recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous create safe places for people to tell their real story, not the “fake news” that perpetuates a lie about life.  The truth is liberating, but leaves us vulnerable, so we need a loving place to tell it.

How I pray that the church which I am privileged to pastor will be a loving place full of authentic stories!  The love of Jesus, that story about His birth, His death, His Resurrection – all so that we could be reconciled to our Father, allows us to tell ourselves the truth and to find in Him that love that heals us and saves us.  Our natural impulse is to change our story, to conceal the ugly parts, to magnify the moments of success. Pride makes hypocrites of us. Jesus warns us about  “the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!” (Luke 12:1-3, NLT)

So, what’s your story?
Have you written a fiction about yourself that has enslaved you?
Have you believed a lie that somebody told you, a falsehood that controls you to this day?

The God Who knows you best, loves you most! His love makes the truth safe to tell. John reminds that “If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God. … if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s.” (1 John 1:8-2:2, The Message)

I’m looking forward to some stories on Thanksgiving. And, I’ll tell a few myself. I hope that in them all there is a thread of faith, an echo of the love of Christ.

You are invited to a Service of Reflection, Thanksgiving, and Communion at
Faith Discovery Church, Wednesday, 11/21/2018, at 7 PM.

___________

Blessings

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace comfort for family
Protection while we sleep
We pray for healing for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand
To ease our suffering
And all the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness
We doubt Your love
As if ev’ry promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while You hear each desp’rate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is a revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain the storms the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Laura Story © 2011 Laura Stories (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

New Spring (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) CCLI License # 810055

 

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