Being Stewards of Our Stories

Stories abound in our lives and we encounter them in a variety of forms.  Since I have grandchildren, both Ellie and Anna are re-familiarizing their Papa with the vast array of children’s stories available.  Tune in to a country western radio station and you experience recording artists telling stories through the medium of song.  Of course, there is also the countless number of humorous stories circulated on-line and by word of mouth … “Hey did you hear the one about … ?”

But have you ever thought about the fact that you and your life are a story?  I am at home as I write this reflection for The Lutheran Letter.  Just moments ago I passed several pictures of the Pile family that date back to the early twentieth century.  I removed one of those pictures from the wall and on the back re-discovered a listing of the names of the persons on the photograph with some history scratched in the corner regarding the location and the reason for the photo.  That recollection of family reminded me that each of those persons was and is a story in the midst of a more expansive and encompassing story about the Pile family.  Those stories, however, are no longer being created, for the Pile family members in those photos are deceased.  The stories they tell are historical and a remembrance of yesteryear.

On the other hand, right now … today, I represent a living story and I am a steward of my story and the Pile family story in 2010 along with other members of the Pile family.  But my story also connects with other individual’s stories in communities like St. David’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Davidsville and as one of 40,000+ baptized Allegheny Synod disciples who are on the road together in the name of Jesus.  Blending each of our personal stories with other persons’ stories we author yet other real-life everyday stories together!

This year at the annual assembly of the Allegheny Synod, June 10-12, 2010 at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, the assembly committee is inviting each of our congregations to share a “snapshot” of their story by submitting a photo of a ministry in the life of their congregation that reflects them and excites them.  Along with the photograph we are asking the submission of three or four sentences that describe the pictured ministry which is a component of that congregation’s life and story.

Sixteen congregations, meanwhile, are being given four minutes to share stories highlighting their ministry using the mediums of video, power point, or skits.  It is my hope that together these stories of our 126 congregations will give an identity to Allegheny Synod Lutherans which announces we are not just any people, but are, in fact, God’s people.

Yes God has a story; and we have boundless opportunities to reflect it in our stories.  Time and again your story and my story intersect with God’s story; and we are stewards of those marvelous intersections.

The synod assembly committee’s hope is that by telling some of these congregational ministry stories we are reflecting God’s story for others to see and hear today; rather than waiting to have them told in the next century through photos hanging on walls and books sitting on shelves!

We can be encouraged, enriched and inspired through the telling of those stories to one another.  I am looking forward to the ‘fruit’ of our creativity!