Stories connect people decades and centuries apart
The celebrating has begun and Washington is in a festive mood. This week we are filled with excitement as we celebrate 175 years of Washington’s existence. It is exciting to see people connect their lives with the lives of others through learning new Salsa dance moves, growing out beards, wearing clothing from another century or decade, learning about the architecture of the buildings on the Square, or even viewing antique tractors. We become engaged with their story, it touches a chord with us, and their story becomes our story.
Monday night I attended Mike Zahs’ presentation of “The Historic Graham Opera House and the Brintons – Washington’s Most Entertaining Couple.” The State Theatre was packed with people interested in learning about the theatre, the Brintons, and the silent films that were once shown in the theatre. Mr. Zahs shared that the people who first witnessed these silent films would finish their chores quickly and come to town early even though the show wouldn't start until it was dark. We can imagine the people hurrying through the milking, feeding, and housework in order to get to town. We picture ourselves hurrying with our own chores when we have an exciting place to go. We connect with their story. Mr. Zahs set the stage for the silent films. He encouraged us to imagine this is the first time we had ever seen a moving picture. He encouraged us to be wowed by the vision before us, to be marveled by the special effects, to be moved by the films. It worked! The audience connected with these silent films; we were wowed, we marveled at the magician’s tricks, we laughed. As we sat and watched, these silent films became our stories as well; we related and we connected to a people of a different era.
Their stories become our stories and we are connected. Yet, the people and stories we connect to go even further back than the late 1800s. Have you longed for the birth of a child? Have your eyes become sore from the flow of tears due to an empty womb? You connect with the story of Hannah and Sarai. Have you ever suffered greatly and wondered why? You connect with Job. Have you ever been jealous, tricked someone, and afraid of retaliation? You connect with Jacob. Have you ever said you would do one thing but instead you do quite the opposite? You connect with Peter. These are the very stories of God’s people. The stories of jealousy, mistrust, rebellion, love, hate, questioning, lost, found, and forgiveness. In the Bible you will discover your story because the Bible is filled with honest, life stories of God’s people. Their stories are our stories. Their God is our God. A God who dwells with us, continually forgives us, and constantly loves us. Their stories are our stories because our God holds us together in love, grace, and mercy.
Join us for worship, as our stories are gathered together and God redeems us and sets us free. Immanuel Lutheran worships at 9 a.m. during the summer. This Sunday at 10:30 a.m. gather at Central Park for an Ecumenical Church Service as we praise God together and hear the stories of God’s work through our lives.