Friday, 26 October 2012

telling stories of being found

this weekend is a bit of a themed weekend with the stories I am telling. on Sunday at Belair, we'll explore the story of Bartimaeus calling out to Jesus from his darkness, and finding healing for his blindness. this evening I had been invited to share with the Unity & friends folk, and having been encouraged to tell stories I already know, I suggested the parable of a father and two sons ... themes of feeling lost and feeling found resonate with this group, so I chose to tell that parable and a story I have written and told in WA.

this is how the night went, part one of the weekend of stories of being found.

dinner first, well actually chatting in the kitchen while dinner was being prepared first, then dinner, then I created a story space into which I invited the group. we chose a photo that spoke to us of home – koalas reminding us of a visit from a koala and baby near the childhood treehouse, masks and mirrors and planes reminding us that home is not always simple, fixed or comfortable, candles, hugs, dancing, the sky, water, the things that we love in which we lose ourselves and find ourselves home.
this was to place the story space in the context of the many and varied stories we bring with us whatever space we are in.
then I explained what would happen next, which met with quite enthusiastic affirmation.
I told the story that Jesus told of a father with two sons, one who is lost and found, the other found but somehow still lost. after the story we wondered, one of my favourite ways to invite people to engage with the story and their imaginations: we wondered about why the younger son asked for his inheritance, where was the mother, did they have wives, what would have happened if the younger son had come back with a foreign wife or a male partner, how we can be more like the father, what did the neighbours and servants think (what did the fatted calf think) … and so much more. it was one of the most engaged groups with this wondering I have experienced in a long while, and I loved it!
then I told the story I have written – the sweet sound of grace – imagining how john newton came to write amazing grace.
the silence that lingered after this story lasted for nearly five minutes before anyone moved. I’m not sure I’ve experienced that before, either, after a story I have told.
I invited the people to sit in the silence, to engage in conversation or creative responses.
we celebrated communion together, for which I wrote a new liturgy this afternoon (which needs a bit of tweaking, but is quite poetic), and the passing of the peace to follow is done through hugs for the most part. love it.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself. what a warm, welcoming, caring group of people.

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