Put Down the Story

It’s Holy Week and a good time to put down the stories.  I mean the small stories we get caught in all the time.  The kind of stories that run through the story of this week, they’re all there.

The small stories guilt and shame we know, that Peter knows in his fervent denial around the campfire that night, “I do not know him!”  

The stories we share with Jesus in our longing for a different story, “Let this cup pass from me!” 

There again in his cry of rage and desertion that we have known as well, “My God!  My God!  Why have you forsaken me!”  

It’s there in all that makes us afraid and has us tearing off with the women from the tomb in fear and terror at the news we did not expect.

It’s there in all that makes us afraid and has us tearing off with the women from the tomb in fear and terror at the news we did not expect.

Our small stories are the same stories we hear echoed in the news. There in the aftermath of the third mass shooting in the past weeks. There in the trial of Derek Chauvin. There in Andrew Cuomo and Matt Gaetz. There in Brandon Elliot’s assault on Vilma Kari, a Chinese woman, on the streets of New York.  There in the silent onlookers.  There in the legislators who support and pass legislation that restricts voter access.

All small stories born of rage, fear, anxiety, our small ego needs and desires. The same small stories that live in us, our communities and institutions.  Sometimes its easier to see them in others.

We all have the small stories that keep us small.  Some we chose, others chosen for us.  But our choice about what to do with any of it.  

What we know is that these small stories become deadly stories. Become systemic stories of racism, violence, greed. Live in the back story to the great challenges of our time – climate change, racial injustice, a broken politics and a broken life together. 

We all have the small stories that keep us small.  Some we chose, others chosen for us.  But our choice about what to do with any of it.  

The good news of Easter is that our small stories are not the only stories.  Easter reminds us that we live in a bigger story of Life, Possibility and Hope.  

The bigger story is carried in the perseverance and persistence of the women to stick with this Jesus who has always been about opening up the stories that they thought were closed.  The small stories that trap us in definitions of who is in and who is out, who matters and who does not.  

The bigger story is there in those last words of Jesus from the cross, after all the other words, the final word, last breath, something more than giving up but a giving over to whatever is to come in this unknown, “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”  

But to get to the bigger story you need to go through this Holy Week.  To pull out the small stories that we have been holding for far too long.  To pull them out and look at them so we can let a bigger story hold them, hold us.  

And like on Maundy Thursday, so there in the stories of Easter, when we take out the small stories we find Jesus there meeting us.  

Meeting us not with closed hands but outstretched hands.

Not with empty hands but with the gift of bread.

Not with crossed arms but with a invitation to come to a table and meet other broken souls whose lives are trapped in small stories who need to hear the bigger story.

Here he offers this bread.

Here this cup.

Here meeting our guilt with grace.

Turning our gaze from what keeps us from each other to the discovery of one another.

Come, open your hands.  All they are and all they have known.  All they have done and left undone. 

Open your hands and receive. 

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