As we begin to regather after sheltering-at-home, Deacon Rob Lewis shares a way that we can join our stories as we journey — pilgrimage — together.
When I was in boarding school, our entire boys’ dorm engaged in a pillow fight in our quad late at night, under the light of a full moon. It was a harmless and gleeful melee, and the only injuries were to our pillows. Polyester stuffing littered the ground.
The next morning, our dorm parents gathered all of us in a circle in the quad, and not wanting to punish all, asked for the ringleader to confess. A senior named Ramon Ross, stepped forward and said, “I did it.” The words were barely out of his mouth, before another senior said the same. This was followed by a chorus of “I did its.” We closed ranks, and instinctively protected one another with the same story line, “I did it.” We got our story straight.
What guilty collaborators do – attempt to get their stories straight – is what genuine community avoids.
Instead, we confess. We tell our stories. We come together and open our hearts to each other. We do the work of listening, of mending and stitching, of weaving our stories into a patchwork fabric, a quilt of rended clothes.
Jerusalem Jackson Greer writes,
“When we tell our stories, when we read through the scriptures, when we study the history of our faith, we are unfolding the crazy quilt of the Story of God. A beautiful, intricate, pieced-together-one-scrap-at-a-time quilt. No matter how jagged or ragged the pieces we add, no matter how uneven or precious or dirty, a beautiful design continues to emerge.”
The stitching is the Story which binds all our stories together, as it does with all the disparate stories of Scripture. It’s the Gospel which binds us not to a text, but to the Living Word, to Jesus, and to each other.
As All Souls slowly begins to re-gather . . .
- We invite you to bring a rended garment, something dear to you, to make a quilted banner reflecting our extraordinary pilgrim journey together.
- We invite you to listen to the joyful word of the Apostle Paul from prison to his beloved partners in the Gospel in Phillipi.
- And we invite you to pray, as Paul prayed, “making my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Phil 1:5)
(on behalf of the clergy, and with gratitude to all of you)