The third and last part of “Eight Things You Should Know About Sacred Stories.” See December 9 for Part 1.
Sixth, Sacred stories can be re-written. At The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett, we have been rewriting our story for years now, and this is how I hear us doing that: first we told the story that we are a family. Then, it became we are many families. Then it became that we are a Welcoming Congregation, and that re-writing of the story was slow and long. It had many starts and restarts. Now, we are rewriting our story through the Green Team as The Green Sanctuary. At the same time, we’ve begun re-writing our story regarding immigration and racism. That version of the story is only in its beginning. Is that the story we want to tell? Would you tell our story that way? What would you include in our story? What stories are we telling about ourselves, one way or another? Are they repeatable? Do we want to retell them? When people hear our story as a community, are they drawn by something in it? Do they retell our story? Do they want our story to become their story, too?
Seventh, Sacred stories can create a labyrinth of meaning for our lives–where the path of the stories that we re-tell over time become the single path weaving back and forth, round and round to the center of our life’s meaning. You know how a labyrinth works. Step by step, it’s not obvious that this seeming maze will take us anywhere, but when you step back and see the labyrinth as a whole, it always does take us right to the core, the heart of it. I often wonder if most of us, over time, aren’t honing the one story that we keep working and walking and telling until it takes us to the core of things.
Eighth and finally, Every story that we tell and re-tell is only possible because of the stories that came before it. Our stories connect us through time and place to all of our ancestors, those we know and those many, many more whom we will never be able to know or count or name. We might think of sacred stories in this way as the interdependent web of all existence.
Now, consider your own favorite story. Consider the one word that would describe what calls you back to this favorite story. If you could reduce what this story means to you to one word, what would that one word be? Does this story, this word, open you up to the possibility of wisdom?