Saturday, May 16, 2009

Evangelism Through Storytelling

Since our ancestors could first communicate, we have gathered together to share our stories.

We have passed along wondrous tales of creation and tragic stories of love lost. We have repeated impressive accounts of heroism, and simple legends of family history.

When our ancestors lived closer to the land and to each other, such storytelling was imbued with ritual and occasion. Members of the tribe would gather around the fire to hear their genealogy recited aloud by an elder or by a master storyteller.

Listeners would track how their own lives, or the lives of their ancestors, interwove with the lives of other tribe members, as everyone's ancient relatives had once played out similar life dramas together.

As a custom, some cultures' storytellers repeat the same tales over and over because each time we hear it, we return to the story as a different person, viewing the plot and characters in a new light.

Hearing these stories repeated is a way to gauge where we have been and where we now are on our path of personal and spiritual evolution. It also helps our younger generation to learn these stories in order to pass them on to forthcoming generations.

When we hear others tell their stories, we can laugh at their humorous adventures, feel the thrill of exciting encounters, see parts of ourselves in one another, and learn from each other.

Though many of these formal traditions are lost, we do not have to be without. We can begin new practices within our own extended families of listening to one another's hearts with family and friends, as well as strangers, sharing our stories.

A dear friend one mine did this recently, sharing some storytelling with a woman he met at a pizza cafe. He opened the door to conversation and listened to her own story, moving him to tend to her as he was able to. Her story led him to plant the seeds of compassion within a community as he begins to share her story with hope and faith that others will listen, in order to create change and growth in that same community.

By building these practices of storytelling and sharing, we give ourselves and others the opportunity to draw ever closer in our shared human experience and spiritual journey, pleasing God in His desire to share His own story of unconditional love, and prompting us to share our own gift of truly unconditional love.

With love & light --- and a story to share,


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