stories are gifts.

3 Nov
I’m killing time before confirmation.  I had a few errands to run on my way to Stillwater this afternoon and arrived at church over an hour early.  It feels awkward and strange to go to the family pizza time or wander around, no longer having a role in the children’s ministry arena of Trinity.  (So now I sit on my computer, tucked away in the leader room, stalking people on facebook, maybe eventually getting to a few paragraphs of a paper.)  It is awkward but it also can be wonderful because I am in awe of how many kids remember me after my year and a half away.  One boy who consistently gave me grief and a hard time in Bible Explorers as both a third and a fourth grader, Simon, found me tonight.  He no longer wears glasses and is about a foot taller.  “Hi, Lindsay,” he said automatically.  Another couple of girls who were constantly in my cubicle, chatting about life, eating my candy, and hugging Herbert Butterfield (my giant inflatable penguin) visited me tonight and told me they had missed me in my time away.  That warms my heart – 
– like my nonfat toffee mocha warms my tummy.  I had a headache earlier and figured it was due to either a lack of water or a lack of coffee.  I went to Starbucks.  Halloween is over so, naturally, let’s jump ahead nearly two months and whip out the Christmas colors and drink flavors.  Starbucks cups are red again, their cup sleeves have snowflakes, and this phrase – “Stories are gifts.  SHARE.”  For Christmas this year, I will write down stories, wrap and deliver.  Deal? 
We talk about story a lot at seminary.  As Christians, we share the common story – that of the gospel.  But, unlike fifty or a hundred years ago, there’s competition to the story.  We can no longer assume that everyone believes or has the same story.  There was a community forum held on campus today about the challenges that the church faces – one strong challenge being that we lack identity.  Who are we as the church?  What does it mean to be Christian, to be Lutheran?  While we’re uncertain of our identity, it’s difficult to proclaim the story of Christ and what it means for our life.  The forum kinda led me to despair at the place and the ministry into which I’m going …
Starbucks tells us to share our stories.  Well, if Starbucks says so …  Share your story.  Share your life.  It’s meant to be shared with others, not kept locked inside yourself.  I think, as you share your story, you’ll also be sharing the gospel and the ways God has worked in your life.  Your story is a part of your identity – it makes up who you are.  As we share our stories, maybe the church will find the voice to its identity … I don’t think that’s quite what Starbucks has in mind but I think might move us forward to better understanding, to closer connection, and to education.  Stories are gifts.  Share.
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