10.21.2011

PROPER 25 (30) Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost Year A

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 and Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 • Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18 and Psalm 1 • 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 • Matthew 22:34-46

This may sound silly and obvious to you, but we will say it anyway: Our (yours and ours) current Story is a part of a Bigger Story.

Now we are not necessarily saying we are all a part of One Bigger Story....some would argue we are all a part of a Bigger-Uber-Meta-Narrative...and while that may be true, that is not what we are poking around at today.

Each of us have a Story we came from. Even those of us who never met our parents or those of us who do not talk to our family or those of us whose country of origin is elsewhere or those of us who have no idea where we came from--even a lack of Story is a Story....your Story is that you do not know what your Story is.

And we tell our Stories. Our Stories are how we identify who we are. As we tell our Stories (the good and the bad) we are processing where we have come from, who we are, how life has shaped us, and where we might be going.

It is the telling of our Story that helps us to integrate our current experience (our current Story) in to the Bigger Story.

And when we examine the world of the Hebrews and the world of early Christianity we see again and again the ways folks were remembering their Stories and telling them again to connect them both to those they came from and to those that were coming behind them. Constantly in scripture we see people working to connect their current Story to their Bigger Story.

Look at this week's passage from Deuternonomy. The connection of the current Story to the Bigger Story is as easy as the sentence, "the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Here God is talking to Moses and telling him that the land Moses is looking at is the land God had been promising the Israelites for generations. And every time in scripture the trio of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are invoked, it is a reference to the Bigger Story of the people of Israel.

Just about every one of the Psalms are a connection of the current Story to the Bigger Story. So many of them are directly historical and the rest of them are poetry recounting where the people had come from and the variety of things folks had been through to get there. Look at the opening line of Psalm 90: "Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations." And then the writer goes on to recount the Bigger Story and then ties it to his or her current Story.

In the letters of Paul we see him continuously working to place his current Story in the context of his Bigger Story and the Bigger Story of the Jews and the Bigger Story of the followers of Jesus and the Bigger Story of the development of the history of God. Paul was a part of a society that valued its connection to ancestors and past leaders. He was always working to show that his / their current Story was really a development and extension and re-writing of a Bigger Story that already existed.

Jesus also was living in a world where making the connection to those that had gone before was vital to having credibility in the current moment. Look at this passage from Matthew 22. The people who are questioning him (Keepers of The Story) were asking him about his understanding and connection to the Bigger Story of the history of the children of Israel. He answered their questions and then asked his own question of them. He wanted to know what their understanding of how their current Story fit in with the Bigger Story. Specifically he wanted to see how they understood the Bigger Story of the Messiah as a part of their current Story.

It is important for all of us to tell our Stories. It is important for us to work to figure out and remember the Bigger Stories we are a part of and how we fit in to them. Telling our Stories gives us the chance to integrate our current experience and understand where we fit in to the Bigger Story.

God, guide us as we discover our place.
Guide us as we look back and connect our dots.
Guide us as we leave signs and markers for those who come behind us.
Guide us as we remember where we have come from.
Guide us as we courageously live in to our Story every day.
Amen.

© matt & laura norvell 2011 www.settingourstones.org we want to share
this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that
you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be
with you.