Today was a day of story-telling. We’re a new team made up of members of older re-shaped teams, as well as completely new members. One member was new today and some are new-ish. But today was the first day of the team as a new team and we spent the day sitting in a relaxed environment trying to outline the key strands and influences of our own personal life-story and blended-in God-story. Part of the task was to explain how our life events and choices had led to this moment and to this new combination of human persons with a shared purpose.
During the stories people laughed, wept, shared confidences, marvelled, reacted, faltered, recovered, all reflecting their personalities in the way they rolled out their life story for display. It was an act of trust and of self-offering. We were each allowing others a glimpse of some of the most sacred encounters of our lives. I noticed the word ‘God’ was hardly used and yet the air was heavy with a sense of God’s presence, his pleasure, his delight at the way his hidden involvement in our lives has brought healing from unexpected quarters. It was like reading the Biblical story of Ruth – God is the agency who doesn’t need to be named, who is inferred in every breath. Arriving home I felt as full as a sponge sagging with the weight of the water it’s carrying, full of luminous story.
The team has been brought together to help the churches within its circle of influence tell the story of God’s mysterious engagement in their lives and community. It was right to start by weaving a floor of our stories as we create a space to work and worship together. It was interesting to hear today that a local church leader did exactly the same thing recently with her leadership team, and said her church will never be the same again. That carpet may become threadbare over the years and need repairing but in the meantime it will make a strong foundation for the team to gather now for action.
A prayer that has emerged from our thinking about story:
Dear God, supreme Storyteller,
our lives find meaning in the pages of your unfolding story.
By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
help us to live the story of Jesus so others can see it,
to tell the story of Jesus so others can grasp it,
and be part of this new chapter you are writing
in your enduring love story to the world.