Telling Stories

We are just back from a double bill of London shows. The first was “The Play That Goes Wrong” – I was crying with laughter, it is brilliant – full of slapstick and beautifully observed humour. It is a Murder Mystery Play by a Student Drama Society in which the set falls apart, relationships shatter, props explode and the players desperately try to deliver their lines and tell the story whilst the audience collapse in laughter. The second was “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.” We are brought into the world of an Autistic boy trying to make sense of a dead dog and his parents separation in a world that is loud, where words are confusing but numbers make perfect sense. It was a poignant reminder that this is the way that some of the people served by St. Columba’s view the world.

Story telling’s many forms has the ability to get to the heart of human existence, to open our hearts and give us a glimpse of a different place. Jesus of course told many stories, and they have been re-told in many ways. They open up spiritual experiences and moral dilemmas and share a world enlightened by God’s goodness and kindness, grace and mercy. Yet stories can also be spun into hate and confusion. I write this a week after the Orlando murders, two days after Jo Cox MP was assassinated – each carried out by people who it seems heard a different narrative, one that spoke of fear, hatred, the need to rid the world of those who are different. In any difference of opinion we need to be careful of the words we use, minded that some people are going to take throwaway remarks literally, will not hear any nuanced discussions, and hatred will find space to breed.

We need to keep telling stories of love, grace and mercy; acting with kindness and care. We need to laugh and cry together even when everything seems to be falling around our ears. We need to find ways to communicate across all that divides us and open our spiritual experiences to those who tell a different tale. Reflecting on this week I was reminded Desmond Tutu’s words, “We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness.” They seems like good words to carry into tomorrow.

Be blessed, Craig

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