Sunday Worship Gathering 11 AM @ North Community Lutheran Church
114 Morse Road Columbus, OH 43214 (Map)
I love stories. I think most of us would say the same-- we grow up listening, reading, creating and watching them. We seem to be hardwired for it. For me, I become engrossed when I'm reading a good book. It's like I truly cannot bring myself to do anything but read it. I begin reading when I'm brushing my teeth or pouring my cereal. I turn down invitations from friends in order to complete just a few more chapters. I stay up far too late until my eyes get blurry, and I realize I can't even see the words on the page anymore. Similarly, when I see a good movie, I cannot stop talking about it. I want to tell everyone about its greatness. I want them to see it. Immediately. I want them to experience it the way that I did. I want them to know what I know and feel what I feel.
But isn't that how we are? When a story captures our hearts and minds, we want to share it! We want to talk about it and dissect it and feel out its ramifications for our lives. Whether you share my obsessive nature, I would suggest that we all live our lives by way of “real life” stories that shape us and dictate our decisions. The stories are many, and they develop concurrently, and somehow, we manage to keep up with all of them. We digest the stories we hear on NPR and in the break room, the heated and political diatribes we see via Facebook threads, the advertisements we spot on magazine covers at the gym... and they all contribute to the stories we believe about and write for ourselves. Of course, the importance we place on these stories and the ways that they impact our lives varies significantly, but we file them away, consciously or unconsciously choosing to bring them out at different times for different reasons. We cling tightly to some stories, oftentimes changing our lifestyles as a result (ex. “I will ride my bike to work today because of the story I know about the future of our planet.”). Others we deem less important and bring out only when they are triggered, perhaps when there is an awkward lull in conversation (ex. “Say, did I ever mention the time I accidentally set the tablecloth on fire at a bachelorette party?”). Truth.
We might not recognize it, but I would suggest that the stories we hear and believe frame the lenses through which we view the world. The way we live our lives and the decisions we make are direct results of the stories we believe about ourselves and our purpose in life.
Praise God that He is a master storyteller! He has written us a beautiful Story of love and redemption; made billions of unique characters and places; and given us the gifts of creativity, imagination and the love of narrative so that we may join Him in His Story.
Through this opportunity with Asia's Hope, God continues to write the story of His people. In just under one week, Scarlet City Church embarks on the journey to both continue writing the story of this (relatively!) new church in Columbus, Ohio as well as bring back the stories of the children and staff of Asia's Hope in Kalimpong, India. As we live out the stories God has written for us here in Columbus, the children and staff of Asia's Hope in India are living out theirs in Kalimpong. What a unique and exciting novel is written when these two parallel stories are interwoven!
You see, the problem with the stories of movies and books is that they end-- and no matter how much we desire it, we cannot insert ourselves into the story. As much as we fall in love with a character, we cannot meet her. We cannot talk with her. The beauty of real life stories is that we DO have this opportunity to write ourselves in. It has been said repeatedly that this trip is not an end in itself. Scarlet City, collectively as a church family, we are sitting at the writing desk (or behind the camera, in front of the microphone--whatever your fancy!), pen poised above a ream of blank paper, ready for the guiding hand of God to write a new chapter in the story of our individual lives, our families' lives, our church, Asia's Hope and our world. Every one of us who calls Scarlet City home is a part of it.
Friends, pray with me that this story with Asia's Hope is one of which we long to be a part-- a story that captures our hearts and minds to the glory of the Author of hope and salvation!
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