Benches are perfect for telling stories. Remember Forrest Gump, sitting in the park and telling his story to countless people who sat down next to him while he rattled on. I love stories - I love listening to them and I love telling them and it seems as if benches are perfect backdrops for storytelling. They invite us to “set a spell.” Our Synod Assembly this year is focused on “Weaving God’s story and Our Story into the World.” God’s story plays out for us in the pages of our Scriptures and continues in the lives of God’s people. Our story, as God’s beloved children, is part of God’s story and when shared in love can be the best news ever told.
Early in Seminary, we are encouraged to tell our Call story - why did we choose to attend Seminary? May call story starts very early and it is rather long for this article but the story I like to tell, the elevator version, is this: “In a world wrapped in so much beauty and splendor, with mountains, waterfalls, vast oceans, deserts, people of all colors and walks of life, interesting animals and the vast heavens above us, I am in awe and immensely grateful that God decided the world needed me.” There ya have it! I remind myself that I am worthy because God loves me and I live my life and carry out my ministry with that precious knowledge. I hope that is good news to the people who hear it. I hope it lifts them up and helps them see how much God loves them too. That is what I want it to do.
Our stories can welcome and hold our siblings in a place of grace and peace. Likely the COVID 19 experience will be the stuff of many stories in the future and I hope they are stories of time spent with families, time spent playing and reading and looking around us at things that don’t usually attract our attention when we are living head-on. Maybe we will have stories to tell our grandchildren about how we worshiped in a different way because we were at home and couldn’t gather physically with our worshiping communities. We are connected; in prayer, in social media, by phone, through Scripture and song and story - we are invited to spend this new found time renewing our connection to the One who created us and cares so deeply for us and this world we live on. What is your story?
+ Pastor Patti Axel
Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Evangelical Mission