Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Intersecting Stories –
Preface from the book Sacred Intersections, by Steve Adams, Three Five Six Press 2102:
“In today's world, you don't have to look far to observe ways of being that don't seem to be working. Many of us feel like our lives are fragmented. Fear is often behind our decisions. Strained personal relationships are all too common. Global economic pressures bring out the worst in us. At a time when we need each other more, we seem to be less available—and less and less humane. Hope and joy are on the wane and cynicism on the rise, sadly evidenced by soaring drug abuse and suicide rates, especially among the young.
Our political institutions aren't providing the answers. Neither, would it seem, are our religious institutions. God is largely out of the conversation except when it's convenient to use him as a political pawn or for judgmental manipulation.
There is a way forward that can be different from all that. A way of being that is restorative and relational. A way of being that can reintegrate your life in connection with God, other people, and the story of creation. A way of being that will make your life more enjoyable and more meaningful.
Everyone has a story, and those stories are going on all around us, all the time. Typically, we don't pay much attention to them. We don't listen, don't inquire, don't appreciate. But what if we did? What if every time our story intersected with another person's story, we used it as an opportunity to enjoy that person and somehow enhance his or her story? Sacred Intersections describes how doing so can enliven our experience of God, add meaning to our lives, and make a difference in the world around us.” [www.sacredintersections.net]
Of course this notion resonates deeply with my own “storyteller’s heart”. This book was given to me this Christmas by two friends (a devoted couple) who know me well, probably all TOO well?! J Story is infinitely, eternally important to me, and I believe to God as well? I’m also a huge fan of the little book entitled EPIC: the story God is telling and your part in it, by John Eldredge, many of you have probably received this gift from me? It is the stuff of the “rule” I try live by and coincidentally the rule of the Community of Northumbria, (Celtic Daily Prayer folks), “Vulnerability & Availability”. To be “present to one another in humility” is truly an art and a gift from God, the Triune mysteriously beautiful relationship at the Center of the Universe.
This idea, this “holy notion” if you will, is also the stuff of being a wounded healer (Nouwen), which I find so compelling in this broken world we live in. To surrender all to God, then to follow in submissiveness and humility wherever and to whomever He leads. To become nothing, and yet to become His instrument of grace, mercy and healing. Herein we discover the truth of Emmanuel, God with us, in the form of the “man-god” Jesus Christ, Son of God, son of man, lowly and meek yet all powerful. No big buildings, performances, mega-ministries and egotistical shamans, but simple, humble disciples who practice the intimacy of the One who came to save and heal souls. This is not an easy task for us, it is costly (as Bonhoeffer says, and Willard agrees.) But the “abundant life” Jesus promised leads down this path. We must trust Him when He says, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” It is in His strength that we live and have our being, and in that strength we are conquerors, victorious beyond our wildest imaginations. It will be necessary for many of us to look on darkness, and when that happens it is important that it be robbed of its power to frighten us. There are many kinds of darkness. The darkness of sin should not surprise us, and when we confess it, and yield it to God, we no longer need carry its guilt. The darkness of despair and of unanswered questions (depression, suicide, horrible violence and more) may require that we reach out and hold His hand in the darkness, even by faith, and just keep on walking. And in all this too, we must reach out and hold each other’s hands.
To quote our own beloved Young Life’s motto, “You were meant for this!”