A Good Story

by The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin, Rector

Some time ago, when I visited one of the retirement homes in the area to see a Holy Comforter parishioner, I inadvertently wrote down the wrong time as I signed in at the front desk. One of the people at the desk corrected the ledger, and quipped, "You of all people ought to tell the truth."  "Yes," said another woman behind the counter. "After all, that's your business." No," I replied, "my business is to tell a good story."

It was a light moment, and perhaps my response seemed a little glib. I certainly did not mean to be flippant; for the reality is that my job is to tell a good story. It is the story of a God whose interior love was so powerful, so overflowing that it is exploded forth in Creation. It is the story of a God who loved each of us into being, and molded us, one and all, in beauty and grace. It is the story of a God who became human that we might know the Divine; who descended to earth that we might ascend to heaven; who died that we might live; who lives that we might always live in God. It is the story of a God who calls us into life together as people of faith; who blesses us with strawberries and good Sonoma wine and the sounds of children playing at recess on the local school playground; who inspired the seraphic music of J.S. Bach and the ecstatic poetry of John Donne and the astonishing paintings of Vermeer; who allows us to share in the burden and delight of caring for Creation and one another; who bestowed on us the unique ability to laugh and cry and rejoice and dance and mourn and sing. It is also the story of a God who does not abandon us in times of trial and travail, and who, as the Psalmist says, walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death and anything else we might encounter along the way.

I suspect you know the next thing I am going to write: that telling this story is not just my job, nor the responsibility only of those of us who wear white collars. It is the calling, the vocation, the privilege of all of us to tell this story. St. Francis is quoted often as having said, "At all times, preach the Gospel.  If necessary, use words." So true. So true for all of God's people.

So enjoy the story. Learn it. Live it. Celebrate it. Tell it.