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Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Two stories with two very different meanings.

Hope you’re having a fun Fourth!

I’m struck by how holidays like these, during which we celebrate some aspect of what it means to belong to a particular nation, can be much like religious rituals, insofar as they give a certain shape or story line to our often inchoate, often fragmented experiences.

The words of a poet whose name I can’t recall- (a virtual shout-out to whomever can name him), and whom Barbara Brown Taylor quoted the other night, comes to mind: “For what is story if not relief from the pain of the inconclusive, from the dread of the meaningless?”

 

What is story if not relief from the pain of the inconclusive and the dread of the meaningless?  

And what is religion and its rituals if not first and foremost story?

I suspect this is the main reason why religion will never lose its power.  It’s also the reason why the Christian tradition that gives shape to my own sometimes seemingly inconclusive, seemingly meaningless experiences contains such persuasive appeal.  Its symbols are abundantly rich, not only descriptively and metaphorically but transformatively: in reminding me of who I am and where I’m headed, despite all the twists and turns and detours of my road, they help me to welcome rather than run from the inevitability of change, with a certain level of trust that in the end the plot lines of my story will all make sense.

 

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