It was a simple five-word email that Pastor Jason sent out that filled in some worship planning details. He was in a meeting and was trying to be brief.
I understood what the message meant, but I looked at it for a long time and finally wrote back to Pastor: "There's a good theological story in there somewhere."
It reminded me of six-word stories.
This form of story-telling was started by Ernest Hemingway (maybe, at least that’s the traditional source). He wrote:
For sale: Baby Shoes, Never worn.
Other six-word stories:
Painfully, he changed "is" to "was.
Born a twin; Graduated only child.
Strangers. Friends. Best friends. Lovers. Strangers
Paramedics finished her test, "...love you."
Small Fish. Big Pond. Same Expectations.
I leave. Dog panics. Furniture shopping.
Surgeon saves patient. Patient thanks God.
Six-word stories provide a beginning and an end, and just a hint of a middle.
I started to explore the five words in Pastor's email to see if I could come up with the story. (An extra word might have helped!)
I am flawed. I am human. I always need to confess my shortcomings to God and accept that God is always forgiving. But I'm human, and sometimes it may take a while for me to get around to the confession. So: Confession coming.
I had problems with the word coming in this. It's always coming? It never stops? And Eucharist itself is a difficult word, but basically: the meal of Christ is always available.
This took me back to a discussion in Sunday morning Bible study about the difference between an apostle and a disciple. Generally, that morning we decided that apostles were the followers during the time that Jesus was actually on earth. Disciples was the term used for Christ's followers after his death and resurrection.
That's not totally incorrect, but I researched the terms a little more. A disciple is a follower and student of a mentor, teacher, or any other wise person. An apostle is a messenger and ambassador, someone who champions a critical reform movement, belief or cause.
I like the term apostle better. It's active.
I like that it's the Apostles' Creed, not the Disciples' Creed.
We are apostles, messengers and champions of God’s message.
So the story I got out of those five words: I am a faulty human, who will eventually get around to acknowledging that and confessing my sins. The redeeming meal of Christ is always before us. And we are all messengers tasked with sharing God’s message of redeeming grace.
Ok, it's not great, but it sort of works.
Create your own six-word stories about your faith, or about your life. Share them with us. It would be fun to see what you come up with.
- Ann Warner