Today’s reflection by Terry Hershey

Stories shape us and shape our world.

So. We need to stop and ask; Do our stories make us bigger, or smaller?
Do they invite us to be people of grace, or people of umbrage?
I’m always curious about how people (how we) choose the paradigm to write, tell stories, preach and live. What’s the invitation?

From my life journey, here’s what I know; if the story makes me feel small (shame) or fearful or angry (there are others to blame and dismiss), then I’m not telling (or hearing) a redemptive story. 

A long time ago, this from William Sloane Coffin, helped me reframe a bigger story. “Of God’s love we can say two things: it is poured out universally for everyone from the Pope to the loneliest on the planet and secondly, God’s love doesn’t seek value, it creates value. It is not because we have value that we are loved, but because we are loved that we have value. Our value is a gift, not an achievement.”

Now we’re back to the story from Luke’s gospel. “When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.'”

In other words… I can see you. Which meant that he saw more than a superficial, cruel, limiting label. He saw not just a “bent woman,” but a “daughter of Abraham, and an heir to the blessings of God.”
Which meant that he saw a woman now free to pass those blessings on to anyone she touches. It is no surprise that he said this on a Sabbath. He invited this woman, even bent, to rest. He said, in effect, “Now that I see you, you are safe.”

Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
May you be granted
capable and amusing comrades,
observant witnesses, and gentle homecomings.
May you be granted respite from what you must know of human evil,
and refuge from what you must know of human pain.
May God defend the goodness in your hearts.
May God defend the sweetness in your souls.
Kate Braestrup 

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