Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I am somebody who really enjoys a good story. Comedy, action, fantasy and fairy tales, crime novels, funny and light-hearted, thrillers, tear jerkers – if the story is told well, I enjoy it. My favorite stories though, are personal stories told by the people in the story. I like to hear how people were affected by things they experienced, how moments in time shaped their lives. It gives me a sense about the person that I might not otherwise be aware of or it might teach me something about them, and/or about me that I might not have known before. Stories shape our lives, and everyone has a story or two to share.
In July, as many of you are aware, Wyatt, Jesse and I (along with19 other youth from the Western Slope) went to Houston where they joined in with 33,000 other youth to hear stories of what God is up to in people’s lives and in the world. They spent five days in the city of Houston, a city that has many stories of its own and along the way has lived with the horrors of lives being torn apart from hurricanes. Wyatt, Jesse and I along with other participants from the Western Slope (American Lutheran, Shepherd of the Valley and All Saints) will have the opportunity to tell you their stories about what happened but I want to share with you a small part of my experience.
Jesse and I went down early on June 23 to help get things set up for the Gathering. The behind-the-scenes preparations are unbelievable and hard to describe. Over a thousand volunteers were on hand to help get everything ready. Jesse and I worked in the “Interactive Learning Center.” We had security posted by the doors 24 hours a day. One of them was a woman by the name of Gloria. Every day I would cross paths with her and she would say, “Good Morning!” and I would respond that it was a beautiful day to which she would say, “God has blessed me again. It’s a good day.” After three or four days of this exchange Gloria said to me, “Can I ask you a question?” I said, “Of course, what’s your question? “ Why are you all here? I mean, I know why you are here, but why Houston?” I was honest with her that we felt we had a lot to learn from the people of Houston, about how to work through disasters, through tough times and celebrate good times. We were not there to save Houston but rather to learn from Houston and to share God’s love. Gloria beamed at me and said, “Houston is my home and I couldn’t be prouder of it. I am thankful you are giving us the chance to tell our story.”
Everyone has a story to share and we are called to listen to those stories. I’ve heard many times the saying that “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we would listen twice as much as we talk.”. Jesus also told many stories and used them to teach the people listening, lessons on how to live their life and to care for others. What is your story to share? How might you share your story so that others can learn from you? What is the story that we need to share as a gathered community who calls ourselves All Saints? What story will we tell others?
Share the story of God’s love for God’s people so that all might know they are loved.
Pr. Paul <><
p.s. - Did you know that Luther said??? “My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.