In his new book The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and our World, Bishop Desmond Tutu describes the power of telling the truth. This has been a theme of his life and work in South Africa; he knows better than almost anyone the liberation that comes with telling a true story instead of living a lie. All forgiveness and healing begins, he says, with telling the story. “Speak the truth,” he writes. “Start with the facts.”
What are the facts we begin with? What is the truth we need to speak?
The church’s Communications Team met last night, and we had a great discussion about what is the story that Campbell United Methodist Church has to tell, what truth it is that we are trying to communicate—on Sunday mornings, in the newsletter, on our website, on the church’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and even in this mid-week message.
Here’s my answer, in a nutshell: We are being changed. Transformed. In fact, I would say that transformation—of each of our lives and of the world—is the promise that is at the heart of the Christian life. It’s pretty simple, actually: a life of faith is a life of transformation. If you don’t want to change, you should never go to church—or at least don’t listen too closely for what the Gospel says.
The only story the church has to tell is the story of people whose lives have been changed by their willingness to trust God and courageously love their neighbors. The power of that story is its ability to create community around the experiences we share and to empower us to be even bolder about making sure that everyone gets included in the dream God has for creation.
Each of us has a story to tell about our lives–how we have been changed, what circumstances God has used to enlarge our hearts. Last Sunday we began in worship a new segment. A member of the congregation shared from her personal life a story of her own transformation, a single conversation that shifted everything for her. Another one of our members will share his story this coming Sunday.
What would you say about your own life? What is the story, the truth, that says something about how you have been changed?
I hope the church will always be a safe place to tell these stories. I hope we will ask one another the questions that will invite their telling, and then listen carefully to the stories that are told. Those stories are what make our truth.
I’ll see you Sunday, and in the meantime, may your week be full of wonder.