After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:9–11
I need you in order for me to become the person I say I want to become. I need to hear your story so that I can know that although I might not have the same struggle as you, I am not the only one who struggles. I need to hear the victories in your story to give me hope that there will be victories in mine. I need the unfinished mess of your story to live with faith that God is present and at work in unfinished messes, yours and mine. Discipleship is impossible without without sharing our stories with one another, being a part of community, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Friendship is born at that moment when one [person] says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
Our denomination got it right when 150 or so years ago we first described ourselves as “mission friends.” As followers of Jesus we enter into a rhythm of discipleship, Inward (toward God), Outward (to the least the lost and the left behind) and Together (with one another). The shared stories of meeting God in each of these directions gives us regular glimpses of the reality that God is with us, beside us, above us, below us and alongside us in us and in each of these directions. When you tell your story, you give a gift, when you hear someone’s story you receive one. We bless each other in our stories — however unfinished they might be, for all of our stories are unfinished in the present.
What is your story?
How has God shown up?
Where do you need him to show up right now?
Have you shared your story with anybody?
Have you asked others about theirs?
Who comes to mind when you think of somebody?
Let me know your story, connect with someone and ask them about theirs. Give and receive the gift of life together, and be prepared to say “what, you too?”
Peace, hope and love