Stories of Life

Stories of Life

Some years ago, I saw a poster on a wall. Can’t remember what the picture on it looked like, but I have never forgotten the words: Every Life Tells a Story. From time to time I use those words to frame my remarks for a memorial or funeral service. Because, every life does tell a story and telling that story is a way to celebrate the life being remembered. Of course, it isn’t only at the end of life that the story is important or relevant; it’s true for every chapter in the story as it is being written. So imagine my surprise when I saw the following devotional on Johnnie Selby’s facebook page this morning:

You can’t skip chapters, that’s not how life works. You have to read every line, meet every character. You won’t enjoy all of it. (Heck), some chapters will make you cry for weeks. You will read things you don’t want to read, you will have moments when you don’t want the pages to end. But you have to keep going. Stories keep the world revolving. Live yours, don’t miss out.

I’m not sure where Johnnie found this bit of wisdom, doesn’t really matter. It reminds us that we are always in the process of writing new words, new pages, and new chapters to be remembered, retold and celebrated in the future. And, we want to write ones worth remembering, worth retelling and worth celebrating. They won’t always be about the best things we live, but how we respond to the life circumstances that confront us.

So, it’s no surprise to me that one of the stories worth remembering comes directly from the chapters and pages of the Second Testament of the Holy Scriptures. Mary, a descendant of the House of David, goes to visit her cousin to tell her about her upcoming delivery of a child. Elizabeth is also with child and hers, destined to be John the Baptist, recognizes the child that Mary carries as hope for the world. It’s a story remembered, retold and celebrated. The words from the Gospels according to Luke and Matthew are ripe with anticipation of the birth of a baby in the little town of Bethlehem, in Galilee. The introduction to John’s account announces the birth in a very different way, as the Word which becomes flesh and lives among us as the light of the world. In all cases, it is the first chapter of a story full of chapters about healing, miracles, ministry, teaching, friendship, love, betrayal, denial, death, and resurrection that leads to more stories of the followers of Jesus: your story and mine as well as those of the fellowship of all the saints past, present and future. Come, celebrate the first chapter of the story of stories.