I just got back from having lunch with someone that before today I only knew by name. The experience was a gift. Reflecting upon the time
that passed this morning, I am called to question how many other gifts I have allowed to pass me by.
One of the best things about serving a congregation of less than 500 members is that I have opportunities to get to know folks on a deeper level and to share in their lives in more meaningful ways than I did as one of several ministers in a larger congregation. But still…
I wonder about the gifts Iʼm not experiencing. My luncheon guest and I got to know one another in a relatively short time by listening to one anotherʼs stories. Once again, I have been reminded about the power of story.
For many of us, the question asked in last Sundayʼs scripture is usually first answered for us by stories. “Who do you say I am?” is revealed for us at a young age [not just in years but young in the faith] through the familiar and much loved accounts of Jesusʼ birth, miracles, encounters with the disciples and dissenters, the crucifixion and resurrection. A personʼs story tells of their journey and how they got to this very moment in life; how their thoughts have been formed by their experiences, lessons learned along the way, successes and things not so successful. Sadly, Iʼve come to realize that many of the people I have known the longest I know the least. A couple of my cousins die d in the last few years. As children we were fairly close, our mothers being twins. Weʼd look forward to playing together. Iʼd go to their house in the country and they would come to our house in the village, each place bringing a different kind of amusement. But as we grew older and more mobile we drifted apart both in relationship and location. I did not know their stories beyond our middle-school years. What did they love, and value? What troubled them?
In relationship to most of you, I donʼt know much of your stories before September 1st, 2008, nor you much of mine. How much of the stories do you know of longtime friends? Perhaps not as much as you do about new friends. What gifts might we all be passing up?