The Stories We Tell Ourselves I
The cross must have looked like a failed mission.
I think of Good Friday, of the Son of God breathing His last, of His followers watching from afar in dismay and horror as the gruesome events unfolded one by one. I think of them looking on in disbelief as they held their breath and held on to some last hope that things wouldn’t end that way, that there would be a dramatic turn around of circumstance and the sky would rend open as the Father’s power and majesty thundered and delivered the Son in a grand display.
Yet, His head hung low and He died.
I wonder how everyone felt at that moment; the teary eyed knocked breathless, the disillusioned riled up with anger. As the disciples lay hidden in fear, the smell of bread and wine from just one night before lingering in their lungs. As His followers walked away from the scene and returned to their homes, His words still running through their minds. Could they have gotten it so wrong? Could they have misread all the signs? Surely His words were true? Surely if He was God’s Son they couldn’t have killed Him? What comes next?
Confused, restless, crushed.
Waking up numb and blindsided to a dark Saturday morning and remembering all over again what they witnessed on Friday. How he’d gone just as quickly as he’s come into their lives. How everything would go back to the way it was without him. How nothing will ever really change and they must face this hopeless reality as their permanent reality.
Anxious, disappointed and defeated.
How many of us are living in Saturday? We were promised deliverance, we were hanging on to His words that it’s His good pleasure to give us the Kingdom and yet we think of certain points in our pasts, certain relationships, certain failures and disasters and we feel so far from that sanctification we longed for, and that newness of hope we were sure was coming.
How many of us look back and see an empty cross and Jesus is still buried in a tomb when we think of those Friday nights of our past?
We look now on the cross and we think of redemption, reconciliation, and salvation. But on that Saturday with Christ hung high, the choice words must have looked a lot different, a lot like: shame, disappointment and despair.
Will we live out our Saturday till the dawn of Sunday? There’s always two ways to tell the story of the cross. Will we choose to tell it way we know to be true? Will we choose the story that ends on Sunday morning with Christ risen trampling death and our past and our shame in the tomb instead?
“The past is just a story we tell ourselves.” Because we are not our past, yet we cannot deny the story existed, and we existed in it. But we can choose how we tell this story to ourselves. We can chose whether it becomes our whole story or just part of our story. We can tell it to ourselves in a way that the darkness turns into a canvas for all the foolish pride and vain idols to lose their grip as our saviours as we learn to grope in the dark and grip onto Him, finding our heart’s true desire. We can tell it so that our words pave a path through darkness – a path of letting go, a path of abandoning oneself, losing oneself, and in so doing ultimately finding what is real.
“Heaven is God and God is in our heart” so we are living in the eternal now, with the sacred inside. Wherever we go we can bring the Kingdom. And when our mind travels down memory lane and our hearts beat heavy and our spirits falter fast we can bring our stories of old into His kingdom and His eternal story
An eternal story of calmed fear and restored hope
An eternal story our deep and irrevocable communion with the Divine
An eternal story of all that was once corrupted with fickle inconsistencies and restless unfaithfulness restored to their heavenly natures.
And when we tell our story in this way to ourselves we can begin to transcend ourselves on our way to reunification with God. To see God is to see His energies and light through everything and everyone – through our past and our shame. We are a light of love eternal and St Symeon the New Theologian once said: “God is light and all those whom He makes worthy to see Him receive Him as light”
So endure the dark night, it is a guiding night and a night more kindly than the dawn. And let the night leave you vulnerable to God to recreate you as you were made to be: lovers of God and one another. Love is the law. “Let Love come first, it should be the beginning of, and the reason for everything.” So that wherever you go you may see Light.
Will you tell the story of your past in a way that frees you? The pieces of your past and every last wound must no longer be buried with Him and sealed with a stone beyond reach.
It is Sunday morning.
There is an empty cross, there is an empty tomb and there is a risen King. A risen King who is telling a new story of our past – broken homes, broken hearts and all. A risen King who is the Word so He gets the last word. For He gathers all the broken words in every line of every story we’ve strung along and unites all of our words to all of Him, giving them Life. “That is the good news of the Incarnation. The Word becomes flesh and thus a new place is made where all of you and all of God can dwell. When you have found that unity, you will be truly free” Henri Nouwen
And we will run, living testimonies of the great Love story.
“because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-80
“oh as you run, what hindered love will only become part of the story” Bethel
Check out part two here!