The Stories We Tell
March 6, 2022
Part of life with a three-year-old is that she loves the stories, songs, and princesses of Disney. We’ve been on a rotating kick of movies—right now it’s Beauty and the Beast—but a while ago we watched Moana, a story about a Polynesian daughter of the chief who has to rescue her island from the evil that is finally reaching their shores. Like so many Disney movies, it’s got some great music, but there’s one song that I’ve had in my head for a while now called “We Know Who We Are.” In it, the memories of Moana’s ancestors sing about their voyaging prowess and how they would sail from island to island, exploring new lands and seeking adventure.
"Some Day" is Today
January 23, 2022
Have any of y’all ever looked at one of those mid-century editions of magazines like Popular Science? There was an astounding level of optimism from the fifties about what would be possible in the next century or so. And it makes sense, because there were some amazing things that were just starting to happen in that decade that it seemed like the world was just going to get better and better, to the point that problems known in the fifties would be unimaginable by now. And while we haven’t quite matched those dreams, those midcentury hopes really captured the spirit of what we think when we think about the future.
January 16, 2022
Some time in the fifth century, the Church made it official that one of Mary’s titles would be “Mother of God.” And I think nowhere in scripture does that title become more apparent than in this telling of the wedding at Cana. She and Jesus, along with his disciples, were all attending a wedding, having a good time. But at some point in the night, Mary notices a disaster brewing. The wine is about to give out. This poor couple, on such a happy day, were about to experience the embarrassment of having not planned for enough guests. But it’s how Mary handles this information that really seals her title.
January 2, 2022
One of the traditions we have every year during Christmas time is to watch Home Alone. If you haven’t seen it—where have you been the past few decades? Y’all know the story. Kevin, the bratty and dependent youngest son of the McCallister family, is accidentally left behind at their ridiculous mansion of a home when the whole family takes a vacation to France for Christmas. He gets into some wild hijinks with the would-be robbers Harry and Marv, but meanwhile we get snippets of his mother’s frantic journey to get home as soon as she realizes he’s missing. She is absolutely tireless, trading her valuables for a sooner ticket back home. Immediately trying to book another flight once hers is cancelled. Riding in the back of a Budget rental truck with a very moderately successful polka band. All to get home to find her son.
The Helpless Infant God
December 24, 2021
“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus, that all the world should be registered.”
We hear those lines and are immediately transported into this Christmas story that we’ve heard every year. We know the contours so well: there was the census that forced Joseph and the very-pregnant Mary to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. There’s the overcrowded little town and the way Jesus was born and placed in the manger, a feeding trough for the animals. There’s the shepherds who heard the joyful news from the angels. Memories of Christmases past are a part of this story that we hear, whether that’s the program we just did last Sunday that you were a part of, or the first time you saw A Charlie Brown Christmas and heard when Linus put down his blanket to tell the reason for the season, or the memories of a grandparent who read the story each year before you went to bed on Christmas Eve. We know this story, because we repeat it every year.