Prayer 7:13 Prayer 713
North Highland United Methodist Church
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

 

 

Six Word Stories

If you were here in worship on Easter Sunday a year ago, you may remember hearing about "six
word stories", inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s picture of baby shoes with the attached message:  For sale—baby shoes, never worn.

 

 Little more needs to be said than those six words in order for us to sense grief, disappointment, loss and even moving on in the selling of the shoes. Recently I read a devotion by a favorite theologian, Trevor Hudson who was at the time serving an urban church in D.C. He was meeting with a pastor who had for several years preached and served on the suffering continent of Africa. Hudson sought his advice for ministry, and this is what the elderly pastor said: "always remember that each per-son you see sits next to his or her own pool of tears."

 

Is that not true? "Our pools of tears remind us of grief, disappointment, and loss. Some pools are deeper or muddier. Some pools are a result of our own doing and some by what has been done to us", he says. Hem-ingway’s six words certainly would reflect from a pool of tears. Yet tears and grief can also lead us in new ways. Perhaps spaces of change, growth or new identity come after tears. Tears can lead to transformation.
And that is the story of Holy Week and Easter. When Jesus was killed on the cross in the cruelest of executions there were most certainly tears. Puddles and puddles of tears. On Good Friday many of us again shed tears, wondering how things could ever get that far—and could such a tragedy happen under our watch. And so the tears continue to fall.
 
Yet there is a six word story that brings the greatest of joy and the deep-est of hope: JESUS IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD! A six word story which was shouted in breathless exuberance so long ago. A six word story that we repeat at bedsides, grave sites, and from our own pools of tears. They are a story of greatest hope, possibility and transformation. These six words are the essence of the Good News of the gospels that we are called to live out each and every day in all that we do and in all that we say. New life is always possible. We are part of this story, too.
What is your six word story? Give it some thought—write it down. And remember that Jesus’ six word story of transformation is yours also.

 

Peace and blessings as you celebrate Easter hope and joy!
 
Pastor Lou

 

April 2017