About Sacred Stories, Part 1

The first two of “Eight Things You Should Know About Sacred Stories:”

First, the simple matter is that Stories become sacred when we re-tell them. It occurred to me many years ago when I first began teaching that we human beings only ever re-tell stories that are good.  No one in their right mind retells a bad story.  Good story means one that speaks deeply to us. If we find ourselves retelling a story, longing to hear a story again, it is simply and powerfully because that story speaks to us about something important to us.  The more we retell stories, the more sacred they become to us.  A story may be sacred only to us, and that’s okay.

Allow your imagination and memory to dance together for a few minutes.  Which stories are always retold at family gatherings?  Which stories are often retold in community,yesterday-today-and-tomorrow-prophetic-art-painting religious, political and even national gatherings? Are there micro-stories that you keep retelling yourself?  For example, though it runs on a semi-conscious level, I tell myself the story called “sure, this can be done” all the time.  What micro stories do you tell yourself?

Second, Sacred stories can be shared. A story re-told may become sacred to a couple of folks, to a family or set of friends, to a community, to a nation, perhaps, even, one day, a story or some stories may be retold the world over. We might hope that one day there is a human story that all the peoples of the world love to re-tell.  In fact, this kind of longing for a sacred story of the worlds human and other beings could be one way of talking about not only the sacred but salvation.

Enter that dance of memory and imagination again.  To whom do you tell your stories? Enter back into those moments and recall how the story created communion and community?  And today?  Today, to whom will you tell stories?  We are each weavers of the sacred.

Bob Patrick


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