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September 7, 2011

9/11 & The Stories of our Lives

Don't Forget, Remember!
9/11 & the stories of our lives. 

One of my favorite times the end of each and everyday is story time. "Daddy, books tonight?" "Of course" I reply. "How about 3 or 4 tonight?" my son usually asks back. "Nah, how about just two. Maybe an extra if you're lucky" I say. I don't know what it is, but he is always so lucky.

There are so many stories; scary stories, sappy stories, superhero stories. There are stories about trucks, planes, animals, and even going potty for the first time. My children love stories. Often they imagine themselves in the stories and the story takes on a whole new life of its own. It's as if there is some automatic response that each kid does when hearing certain stories (at least with mine), they immerse themselves into it. Before my oldest was tolerant of sitting and having a book read to him, I would ask him what elements he would like me to plug into the story. He was always the superhero, there was always a bad guy and those were the only staples of our story time. Each and every night his eyes widen with excitement, as he, the hero, would swoop in and save the family from pending doom. He still loves story time, I love story time, I think we all love stories.

Anniversaries are special dates that we want to remember. The story that millions are currently remembering is the 10th Anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, also known as 9/11. What a sad and horrible event that was. It's a story that changed all of our lives. I don't even know where to begin on speaking on all the effects that took place from what had happened on September 11, 2001. It know it's an understatement, but a lot happened. It's ten years later and we are still dealing with it. Needless to say, 9/11 is big deal and a story that will not be forgotten. We keep the story alive by remembering it each and every anniversary. We remember it and by remembering it we keep it alive.

Stories form us. Stories give us meaning. Stories give us direction. Stories create unity. The power of story in our lives is much like a compass to a man wandering in a jungle, without it he'd be utterly lost and confused, left in a dilemma and to the whims of his wandering imagination.

In this blog post I'm trying to tie together 9/11, Christ and the Communion Table. Each and every Sunday my church goes through the same liturgy, retelling the same story of Christ's blood  and remembers Christ's body broken for us and his blood shed for the forgiveness of sins. We retell the same story each week. 

1 Corinthians 11:24 reminds us "and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, 'This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'"

What if we forgot and didn't remember? What if we had forget significant events in our lives and had no stories to tell? What if my son later in life asked me to tell him some stories when he was younger and I had none to tell him? What if we forgot to remember those fallen on 9/11? 

You see, remembering is important, but it is forgetting that is the real danger.

If I felt like just reading one random, segmented page of any of the books that my son or daughter choose one night they would be sadly disappointed. That's because they want they want the whole thing. The one page I could read would only make sense in context of the whole story. Small bits of information aren't as vital to us as the whole story. If and when Christian educators teach scripture as splices of unconnected information it'll have minimal effect on the lives of the recipients than if they were given insight into the connectedness of it to the whole/big picture and story. 

I realize that it is not realistic to read the whole story of the bible each and every time one sits down to teach about scripture, but is it really unrealistic to keep the story of God's far reaching love and redemption alive?

All good stories and novels have the same elements of conflict, character development, romance, horror, comedy, despair, mystery. Nothing is better than a book, a story that just totally sucks you in. You can't keep from wanting to get to the next page. You're gripped and can't wait to see what happens. Good stories enliven us. This weekend we remember a story of tragedy that took place back on 9/11/01. We keep this story alive us because it sucked all of us in. It's a story of horror, but also of great courage and heroics. We keep the story of Jesus alive because his life is a story that has totally gripped and captured us. 

May you remember the special events in your life that have impacted you. Remember and don't forget. Share the story of your life and take time to listen to the stories of others. I am not things that I like or wear. I am my story and you are too.

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