Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter and Faith Stories

Once again, the season of Lent is with us. It is about to culminate in Good Friday and Easter. It’s the faith story of Jesus, the big foundational faith story for Christianity. Are we thinking about it as a people?  When many of us think about Jesus, we think about him being born, dying and rising. Some of us think about the life he lived between birth and death, as recorded in the New Testament. A lot of other people don’t think much about him at all. I suggest that his faith story might remind us of our own faith stories.

Last week at a gathering at church, I was assigned to tell my faith story. I thought about it a lot and concluded that it is easier to tell someone else’s faith story than my own. My father’s story is much more interesting than mine, as is my brother David’s. I am proud of both of them.  They both taught me that a faith story is not just that person’s story, but rather the story of their communities of faith. They both wrestled with God a bit. My father joined the Episcopal Church in suburban Chicago and then moved to Sturgeon Bay, where he found a more high church manifestation. He complained about it and took the Bishop to lunch to try to resolve the dilemma of how to make the church match his image of it. My brother left the Episcopal Church when he disagreed with it, and he became a pastor in the Assemblies of God. Both were and are faithful people of God, in death and life. Things fall apart and come together, all in the tent of God.

My story was hard to tell, partly because it involved unhappiness and partly because it was hard to tell without telling the story of us, Rick and me. My story is our story. My father’s story involved my mother, and my brother’s story involved his wife. My story was about realizing in the middle of the night that God was real, my husband and I could straighten out the mess we had created, and our stories were intertwined. We don’t live faith alone. In all three stories in my family, the church has been there to support, assist and shape us. The church has its own sinful story, but it still shows us the God who holds us in his hands.

We all live with the challenges of the world around us. We come together at Easter with many faith stories, some happy and some not so happy. Stories of lost or no faith come, too. Easter has a big umbrella. It’s an umbrella that covers us and still lets the sun shine in.

Some people prefer an Easter that is about a rabbit that gives away colored eggs. That’s a different story.

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