Allowing the Ancient Story to Shape Us - Devotions for the Wisconsin Annual Conference
“My father was a wandering (starving) Aramean, who went down to Egypt, and became a great nation . . . The Egyptians treated us terribly, oppressing us and forcing us into hard labor, so we cried out to the Lord . . . And the Lord brought us out of Egypt and brought us to this place.” (Deuteronomy 26:5 - 9)
When we remember who we are, we are grounded and given an identity. When we remember that we have lived life, we have faced challenges in the past and God has helped us through them, we can face the challenges of this day, leaning on God, trusting God and God’s faithfulness to help us through the challenges of the moment. The reason we are being reminded to remember who we are, is because if we forget, we run the risk of losing our way.
There was once a young man who was in prison. He was visited by the local parish priest, who came and befriended him. After spending some time with him and listening to his challenges, the priest said, “Let me tell you a story. . .”
The young man in prison said, “A story? I don’t need to hear a story at a time like this. What good would a story do me now?”
The priest patiently replied, “What good would a story do you? My son, you are in prison, because you have learned the wrong story. You have learned the story of anger and hate. You have learned the story of fighting the world and it has done you no good. If there is any hope for you, it is in learning a new story of who you are as a child of God and who God wants you to become. So let me tell you a story. . .”
I love that. Stories shape us. They give us identity and hope.
By inviting us to remember who we are and where we come from, the wisdom from ancient Israel is that we would stay tied and connected to God and hold on to our faith. So that by remembering who we are and where we come from, we can be better equipped to accept the gifts and challenges that come our way.
Prayer: Gracious God, you have always been the God who comes to us. You have always been the God who invites us into the future. In times, when our world has changed drastically, help us to embrace you and the future you call us to. Help us to remember who we are, as your children. May this identity as your family, give us the courage we need for today. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.