I love stories, and am thankful for Lloyd Strickland’s reminder last week in this column about the need to keep them simple! It made me think of a simple story, a simple story and a very difficult story: a story of a community of concern and care for each other and for those around them. It is an ancient story that transcends time and space – it is our story, it is our (grand) parent’s story, it is our (grand) children’s story; and it is a story that is always changing, yet always the same.
It is a story of community that helps to build people up, rather than tear them down. It is a story that reminds us to watch for the log in our own eye before calling our neighbor’s attention to the speck in theirs (Matt 7). It is a story that reminds us that we need members of the body, other members of the body, to be useful as one.
We are reminded that there is a need for Christian Unity: that those things that break us apart are less important than the things that bring us together. That remind us of the importance that the ancient stories of Jesus are still our stories: that we are called to lift up the broken hearted, the disenfranchised, the hurting and the poor. That reminds us that Jesus showed the world a new way to live in an ancient paradigm.
We are called to live this new way that God calls us to through Jesus: a way of love and justice and truth. It is not always easy, but it begins with us working on our own issues and ourselves before we work on those of others.
It is an ancient story that is a new story. It is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. It is a challenging story of love, and of Love. It requires each of us to find support in a community that will challenge us and love us, and remind us of the Love of God. It requires us to find ways to mend broken relationships: with ourselves, with each other, with God, with creation; and to find a way back to healing and wholeness.
That was part of Jesus’ ministry, to help people find wholeness. To return their lives to God (“to repent”) and to turn their troubled lives over to those who would help them live a better live, one fashioned after the footsteps of the Creator in Jesus.
There are so many ways that this community supports each other in this growth: it is witnessed in the stories of this paper and it is witnessed in the way that the community gathers around to support each other in their endeavors.
It is witnessed in the respect that members of the different faith communities, and those of no faith community, have for each other and the respect in which those differences are lived out. The Voices United Community Choir in both Barriere and Clearwater witnessed it in the raising of over $1,200 for the North Thompson Valley Hospice House Society through the donations at the presentation of the Cantata.
May we continue to witness to the living out of this simple, confusing, hard, easy, confounding, challenging, and life-changing story that is ours – all of ours.
– Rev. Graham Brownmiller, Clearwater United Church